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Govt likely to issue CAA rules before poll code comes into effect

February 27, 2024 20:56 IST
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The rules for the implementation of the contentious Citizenship Amendment Act, 2019 for fast-tracking citizenship to undocumented non-Muslim migrants from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan are likely to be issued before the Model Code of Conduct for the 2024 Lok Sabha elections comes into effect.

IMAGE: File image of a protest against CAA in Guwahati, Assam. Photograph: ANI Photo

The Model Code of Conduct gets enforced immediately after the election schedule is announced, which is likely in the next fortnight.


The rules for the CAA are likely to be issued before the MCC comes into effect, sources privy to the development said.

When the rules for the CAA are issued, the Modi government will start granting Indian citizenship to persecuted non-Muslim migrants -- Hindus, Sikhs, Jains, Buddhists, Parsis and Christians -- from Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan who had come to India till December 31, 2014.

The CAA was passed in December 2019 and it got the President's assent subsequently.

However, the law could not be implemented so far as rules are a must for its implementation.

There were massive protests in some parts of the country after the CAA was passed by Parliament. Over a hundred people lost their lives during the protests or police action.

The ministry of home affairs has readied a portal for the convenience of the applicants as the entire process will be online.

The applicants will have to declare the year when they entered India without travel documents. No document will be sought from the applicants, an official said.

According to the law, the benefits under the CAA will be given to the undocumented minorities from the three neighbouring countries.

On December 27, Union Home Minister Amit Shah had said that no one can stop the implementation of the CAA as it is the law of the land and accused the West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee of misleading people on the issue.

Addressing a party meeting in Kolkata, Shah said it is the Bharatiya Janata Party's commitment to implement the CAA.

The TMC, led by Mamata Banerjee, has been opposing the CAA since the beginning.

The promise of implementing the controversial CAA was a major poll plank of the BJP in the last Lok Sabha and Assembly polls in West Bengal.

The saffron party's leaders consider it a plausible factor that led to the rise of the BJP in Bengal.

According to the Manual on Parliamentary Work, the rules for any legislation should have been framed within six months of presidential assent or seek extension from the Committees on Subordinate Legislation in Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha.

Since 2020, the home ministry has been taking extensions at regular intervals from the parliamentary committee for framing the rules.

Meanwhile, in last two years, over district magistrates and home secretaries of nine states have been given powers to grant Indian citizenship to Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christians coming from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan under the Citizenship Act, 1955.

According to the annual report of the ministry of home affairs for 2021-22, from April 1, 2021 to December 31, 2021, a total of 1,414 foreigners belonging to these non-Muslim minority communities from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan were given Indian citizenship by registration or naturalization under the Citizenship Act, 1955.

The nine states where Indian citizenship by registration or naturalisation is given under the Citizenship Act, 1955 to non-Muslim minorities from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan are: Gujarat, Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh, Haryana, Punjab, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Delhi and Maharashtra.

Interestingly, authorities of none of the districts of Assam and West Bengal, where the issue is politically very sensitive, have been given the powers so far.

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