CAA Rules Notified After Four-Year Delay

CAA Rules Notified After Four-Year Delay

After a delay of four years, the rules for the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) of 2019 have finally been notified by the Ministry of Home Affairs. This long-awaited notification enables the implementation of the CAA across the entire country, extending the fast-track citizenship provision to undocumented non-Muslim migrants from Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Afghanistan who entered India before December 31, 2014.

To streamline the process, the Ministry has introduced an online portal for applicants, simplifying the documentation procedure. Individuals seeking citizenship under the CAA are not required to submit any documents, but they must declare the year of their entry into India without travel documents.

However, certain areas are exempt from the provisions of the CAA. These include regions covered by the Constitution's sixth schedule and states with an inner-line permit (ILP) regime, primarily in the North-East. Additionally, the Act does not apply to Indian citizens, as it specifically aims to grant citizenship to persecuted non-Muslim minorities from neighboring countries.

The government's defense of the CAA rests on humanitarian grounds and historical obligations towards religious minorities facing persecution. Despite opposition concerns regarding discrimination and its potential impact on existing agreements such as the Assam Accord and the National Register of Citizens (NRC), the government maintains that the Act is not aimed at any specific religion or community but rather at providing refuge to persecuted minorities.

Following the notification of the rules, the Ministry of Home Affairs has clarified that the CAA will not revoke the citizenship of any Indian citizen, regardless of religion. It emphasizes that the Act is solely intended to offer citizenship to persecuted minorities from Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Bangladesh.

Despite the contentious nature of the CAA and its delayed implementation, the government has proceeded with its enactment, prompting criticism and opposition, particularly in the lead-up to elections. Various states, including Kerala, have expressed opposition to the law, with Kerala being the first to declare its non-implementation of the CAA.

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