CAA rules on hold, Centre opens another citizenship window
The notification lists Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis, and Christians as the communities that will be covered, With the Centre yet to frame rules under the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) 2019, it issued a gazette notification Friday granting powers under existing rules to authorities in 13 districts of Gujarat, Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan, Haryana, and Punjab to accept, verify and approve citizenship applications from members of minority communities hailing from Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Bangladesh.
The order has been issued under the Citizenship Act, 1955 and the Citizenship Rules, 2009 and not under the Citizenship, Amendment Act, 2019 since its rules have not yet been framed, sources in the Ministry of Home Affairs said. A similar notification had been issued in 2018 as well for other districts in several states, “In exercise of the powers conferred by section 16 of the Citizenship Act, 1955 (57 of 1955), the Central Government hereby directs that powers exercisable by it, for registration as a citizen of India under section 5, or for grant of certificate of naturalization under section 6, of the Citizenship Act, 1955, in respect of any person belonging to a minority community in Afghanistan, Bangladesh, and Pakistan, namely, Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis, and Christians… shall also be exercisable by the Collector, within whose jurisdiction the applicant is ordinarily resident,” the notification said.
It also granted similar powers to the Home Secretaries of Haryana and Punjab, except for Faridabad and Jalandhar. “The verification of the application is done simultaneously by the Collector or the Secretary, as the case may be, at the district level and the state level, and the application and the reports thereon shall be made accessible simultaneously to the Central Government on an online portal,” the order said.
“The Collector or the Secretary, as the case may be, on being satisfied with the suitability of the applicant, grants him the citizenship of India by registration or naturalization and issues a certificate of registration or naturalization, as the case may be, duly printed from an online portal and signed by the Collector or the Secretary, as the case may be, in the form as prescribed in the said rules,” the notification said, according to an Indian Express article.