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Daily Current Affairs for UPSC

Government grants certificates under CAA

Syllabus: Polity and Governance [GS Paper-2]

Context

In a significant development, over 300 people have been granted Indian citizenship under the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA). This marks a new chapter in their lives, as they officially become part of the Indian citizenry.

CAA: A Controversial Legislation

  • The amended Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA), 2019 replaces the Citizenship Act of 1955 which gives rights to certain religious minorities from neighbouring Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan who migrated there before December 31, 2014.
  • The CAA has raised many questions, and thus has brought up a lot of arguments and happenings all around the country.

Who Benefited?

  • Just recently, the federal government was responsible for the issuing of citizenship certificates to over 300 individuals applying for them under the CAA.
  • The place of origin of the applicants remains undisclosed, but government officials said that a large majority of applicants was from Pakistan.
  • These foreigners were legally permitted to reside in India and they established their communities in states such as Gujarat, Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan, Haryana, Punjab, and Delhi, among others.

Eligibility Criteria

  • The CAA has some of these parts that refers especially to those people who have been living in India illegally from countries especially belonging to them, Hindus, Sikhs, Christians, Buddhists, Jains, and Parsis.
  • It effectively moves the applications of the same for citizenship in India to the fast lane. Furthermore, Pakistani Hindus were already citizens entitled to citizenship under the existing provisions of the Citizenship Act of 1955. CAA only provided an alternative for the process.

Key Provisions

  • Relaxation of Residency Requirement: By implementing CAA a residency requirement period has been reduced from 11 years to 5 years for a group of communities to accomplish Indian citizenship through a naturalisation method.
  • Exemption from Prosecution: The Community Compagent interventions are excluded from the enrollment of the Foreigners Act 1946 and the Passport Act 1920. They have been transformed from being “unlawful immigrants” to being “undocumented workers” who have crossed borders.
  • Exclusion of Muslims: Providing such a privilege for non-Muslim communities is what the CAA fails to perceive.
  • Exceptions: Their nature is strictly controlled by Inner Line permit stickers under the Bengal Eastern Frontier Regulation 1873 in the tribal areas of Assam, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Tripura, and some states.

Path to Citizenship

  • Application Process: Applicants must declare their country of origin and submit at least one document tracing their roots to Bangladesh, Pakistan, or Afghanistan. An eligibility certificate issued by a “locally reputed community institution” is also required.
  • Beneficiaries in West Bengal: Those who entered India without any documents in West Bengal face challenges applying under the CAA.
  • Deemed Citizens: Acquiring citizenship under the CAA deems individuals citizens of India from the date of their entry into the country, closing legal proceedings related to their migration.

Conclusion

In conclusion, the CAA aims to provide a pathway to citizenship for specific religious minorities while excluding Muslims. It remains a topic of debate and scrutiny, with implications for India’s social fabric and legal framework

Source: The Hindu

UPSC Mains Practice Question

Q. Critically analyse the implications of the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) 2019 on India’s secular framework and its potential impact on social harmony. Discuss the recent instances of citizenship grants under this act.

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