Centre issues first Indian citizenship certificates under CAA to 14 individuals

MHA Begins Granting Citizenship Under CAA Rules
CAA Takes Effect (Photo - Web)

Over two months after notifying rules for the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), the Ministry of Home Affairs on Wednesday issued the first set of citizenship certificates under the law to 14 individuals.

Union Home Secretary Ajay Kumar Bhalla personally handed over the certificates to the applicants in New Delhi.

“The Empowered Committee, Delhi headed by Director (Census Operation), Delhi, after due scrutiny, have decided to grant citizenship to 14 applicants. Accordingly, Director (Census operation) granted certificates to these applicants,” MHA spokesperson said.

“Bhalla handed over citizenship certificates to some applicants and also congratulated them, highlighting salient features of the Citizenship (Amendment) Rules, 2024,” the spokesperson added.

The Centre had notified the rules for the CAA on March 11, paving the way for implementation of the law over four years after it was passed by Parliament in December 2019.

Over the past two months, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has received several applications from individuals belonging to Hindu, Sikh, Jain, Buddhist, Parsi, and Christian communities who entered India from Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Afghanistan on or before December 31, 2014, due to religious persecution or fear of such persecution.

Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA)

The Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) was enacted in December 2019, but the implementation rules were not framed until recently. The law’s passage sparked protests, which subsided only with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic and a series of petitions that remain pending before the Supreme Court.

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has stated her opposition to the CAA if it curtails existing rights of Indian citizens in any manner.

The CAA rules include a provision that refugees from the six minority communities from the three countries applying for citizenship by registration or naturalization must submit an application, an affidavit verifying the statements made, another affidavit from an Indian citizen testifying to their character, and a declaration of familiarity with one of the languages specified in the Eighth Schedule of the Constitution of India.

The application must be submitted electronically to an empowered committee through a district-level committee notified by the central government and supported by documents such as a copy of a passport issued by the government of Pakistan, Afghanistan, or Bangladesh, birth certificate, any other identity document, land or tenancy records, or any document showing that either of the applicant’s parents, grandparents, or great-grandparents were citizens of one of the three countries.

The rules state that these documents will be admissible even beyond their validity period.

Applicants must also provide proof of entry into India before December 31, 2014, which can be in the form of a visa and immigration stamp, registration certificate from the Foreigners Regional Registration Officer (FRRO), a slip issued by Census enumerators in India, a government-issued license, certificate, permit in India (including a driving license, Aadhaar number, ration card, or marriage certificate issued in India, etc.).

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