Home Trending What changes as India implements CAA?

What changes as India implements CAA?

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Applicants under the CAA must provide an eligibility certificate from a recognized community institution in their area attesting to their continued membership in the Christian, Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, or Parsi communities

Days before the Lok Sabha election schedule was revealed, the Center on Monday, March 11, notified the rules for the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2019 (CAA), four long years after Parliament approved it.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has fulfilled another pledge and realized the promise of the Constitution’s framers, according to Union Home Minister Amit Shah, who made the announcement.

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The Congress and other opposition parties criticized the action, claiming it was done to polarize the elections, notably in West Bengal and Assam, while the BJP, its allies, and other groups applauded the Modi government for CAA.

However, what is the CAA exactly? What are the CAA’s regulations? And what modifications result from the CAA’s implementation?

Features of CAA

The purpose of the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, or CAA, is to safeguard people who have fled religious persecution in India. Hindus, Jains, Christians, Sikhs, Buddhists, Parsis, and anyone from Bangladesh, Pakistan, and Afghanistan who arrived on or before December 31, 2014, are eligible to apply for a fast-track to Indian citizenship under the new law.

The government argues that because Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Bangladesh are Islamic republics with a majority of Muslims, they cannot be regarded as persecuted minority, so the law does not apply to them.

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Furthermore, it excludes those who are escaping persecution in nations with a minority that are not Muslim, like the Tamil refugees from Sri Lanka. It also makes no allowances for Muslim Rohingya refugees from neighbouring Myanmar.

After being tabled in Parliament in 2019, the legislation quickly became the focal point of numerous demonstrations, one of which was conducted at Delhi’s Shaheen Bagh. Many have maintained that the bill’s solely community motivations were discriminatory, polarizing, and destructive.

However, the law was approved by the Parliament and given presidential approval in December 2019. Prior to this, the Act’s effective date was announced by the Ministry of Home Affairs as January 10, 2020. But it could not be put into practice because the regulations were not written.

Rules and regulations

After being tabled in Parliament in 2019, the legislation quickly became the focal point of numerous demonstrations, one of which was conducted at Delhi’s Shaheen Bagh. Many have maintained that the bill’s solely community motivations were discriminatory, polarizing, and destructive.

However, the law was approved by the Parliament and given presidential approval in December 2019. Prior to this, the Act’s effective date was announced by the Ministry of Home Affairs as January 10, 2020. But it could not be put into practice because the regulations were not written.

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Furthermore, the CAA does not apply to the majority of the northeast. The Sixth Schedule to the Constitution exempts the tribal territories of Assam, Meghalaya, Mizoram, or Tripura, as well as the states of Arunachal Pradesh, Mizoram, Nagaland, and Manipur, from the requirements of the CAA.

In accordance with the CAA regulations, a person must have resided in India for a minimum of 12 months prior to the application date in order to be qualified to apply for Indian citizenship. Alternatively, if the candidate has lived in India for at least six of the eight years that immediately before those twelve months, they may be entitled to apply for Indian citizenship.

In addition, applicants under the CAA must provide an eligibility certificate from a recognized community institution in their area attesting to their continued membership in the Christian, Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, or Parsi communities.

According to CAA, the applicants must also declare that they wish to make India their permanent home and that they “irrevocably” abandon their current citizenship.

The CAA regulations also offer distinct applications for individuals falling under these subcategories: individuals of Indian descent, individuals married to Indian citizens, minor children of Indian citizens, individuals with Indian parents, individuals whose parents were Indian citizens, individuals with Overseas Citizenship of India (OCI) cards, and individuals pursuing naturalization as a means of obtaining Indian citizenship.

Additionally, the regulations stipulate that submitting a passport is not a requirement for applicants seeking citizenship under the CAA.

According to a home ministry representative, qualified candidates might apply “in a completely online mode.” One official stated that no more paperwork will be required from the applicants.

Following submission, the documents will be examined by a District Level Committee under the direction of a Designated Officer, the specifics of whom will be disclosed subsequently.

The appointed official will also administer the oath of loyalty to the applicant, sign it, and send it electronically to the Empowered Committee along with confirmation that the documents have been verified.

Additionally, upon approval by the Empowered Committee, the candidate will receive a “digital certificate,” of which a hard copy will be sent upon request.

Effect of CAA 

In an effort to reassure the public, the administration has made it clear that Indian residents who are currently residing in India will not be affected in any way. In actuality, Indian people are not covered by the CAA and are not impacted in any way.

The home minister confirmed this further, claiming that Mamata Banerjee, the chief minister of West Bengal, and the opposition were using the CAA as a bogeyman.

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He emphasized that the CAA is exclusively intended for individuals who, having experienced religious persecution in Afghanistan, Pakistan, or Bangladesh, and who are seeking Indian citizenship—Hindus, Buddhists, Sikhs, Parsis, Jains, or Christians.

Thousands of non-Muslim immigrants from the three nations who are already residing in India illegally or on long-term visas stand to gain from this rule.

Opposition’s stand on CAA

Mamata Banerjee, the chief minister of West Bengal, has been a strong opponent of the CAA. Shortly after it was announced, she declared that she would vehemently oppose it if she believed it to be discriminatory against certain Indian populations and if it in any way restricted their current citizenship rights.

“Why do this only days before the Lok Sabha polls are scheduled to be announced?” she asked, questioning the notice’s timeliness. Why did the Center need to wait four years after the law was passed by Parliament before notifying the public?

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The leader of TMC went on to express her concern that the CAA would be used as a springboard for enacting NRC across the country.

The declaration was criticized by the Congress as well, with Jairam Ramesh saying that it was an additional attempt to “manage the headlines” following the Supreme Court’s orders on Monday over the electoral bonds problem.

“The timing right before the elections is obviously designed to polarize the elections, especially in West Bengal and Assam, after seeking nine extensions for the notification of the rules,” he added.

Chief Minister of Kerala Pinarayi Vijayan referred to the CAA as a law that divides communities and declared that it would not be enacted in the southern state. Meanwhile, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal of Delhi claimed that the Centre’s action is against the nation and that the BJP is using “dirty politics” to turn impoverished people from neighboring countries into its political supporters in India.