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Government notifies Citizenship Amendment Act 2019

Utkarsh Classes 11-03-2024
Government notifies Citizenship Amendment Act 2019 Bill and Act 7 min read

The Union Ministry of Home Affairs notified the controversial Citizenship Amendment Act 2019 on 11 March 2024. The Act will be implemented across the country. The government also issued a notification to set up an Empowered Committee and District-Level Committee to process citizenship applications.

The Citizenship (Amendment) Bill 2019 to amend the Citizenship Act 1955 was passed by the Parliament on 11 December 2019 and received President Ram Nath Kovind’s assent on December 12, 2019.

Provision of the Citizenship Amendment Act 2019

  • The act makes the illegal foreign migrants of six religious communities, i.e., Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, Parsi and Christian from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan, eligible for Indian citizenship.
  • The law applies to those who have taken refuge in India due to religious persecution in these countries or fear such religious persecution. However, only refugees who entered India on or before December 31, 2014, are eligible for citizenship.
  • After acquiring citizenship, such migrants will be deemed to be Indian citizens from the date of their entry into India. All legal proceedings regarding their status as illegal migrants or their citizenship will be closed.
  • These illegal migrants will get Indian citizenship through the Naturalisation process. Under the Naturalisation process a certain category of foreign citizen has to live at least 11 years in India before applying for Indian citizenship. Under the Citizenship Amendment Act 2019, the required period of residence in India has been reduced to 5 years.

Where the law is not applicable 

  • The provisions of the Act do not apply to the autonomous tribal areas of Assam, Meghalaya, Mizoram, and Tripura, which are included in the Sixth Schedule of the Constitution.
  • It is also not applicable in areas where ‘The Inner Line Permit’ is applicable, including Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland, Mizoram and Manipur. 
  • Inner Line Permit (ILP) is an official travel document issued by the Government of India to allow Indian citizens to travel inward into a protected area for a limited period. Any citizen of India from outside the inner permit line area has to obtain a permit to enter the protected state. 
  • It means that any illegal migrants living in these areas are not entitled to Indian citizenship under the Citizenship Amendment Act 2019.

Why it is controversial 

  • The Citizenship Amendment Act 2019 is a highly controversial law in India. For the first time, citizenship is being granted on the basis of religion.
  • The critic of the law argues that it is against the secular character of the country and discriminates against Muslims.
  • It is also seen as part of the BJP's agenda to polarise the country ahead of the 2024 general elections.

How to Apply 

Accroding to the government of India’s notification, the applicant must apply online for Indian citizenship on a dedicated portal  https://indiancitizenshiponline.nic.in.

Empowered Committee: 

The Government of India also notified the setting up of an Empowered Committee in each state and Union Territory. The Empowered Committee will be headed by the Director (Census Operation).

The Empowered Committee will consist of;

  • an officer in the Subsidiary Intelligence Bureau 
  •  jurisdictional Foreigners Regional Registration Officer, 
  • the State Informatics Officer of the National Informatics Centre of the State 
  •  Post Master General of the State or Union Territory or any other officer nominated by him.

Invitees: A representative from the Department of Home (of State) and Divisional Railway Manager shall be the invitees of the Empowered Committee.

The Empowered Committee, after receiving the report from the District level Committee and if it is satisfied then it will issue citizenship certificates to the illegal migrants. 

District-Level Committee

  • The district-level committee will be headed by the Senior Superintendent or Superintendent of Post, also known as the Designated Officer. The committee will also include, the district informatics officer/assistant and a nominee of the central government. 
  • The invitee of the district-level committee includes a representative not below the rank of naib tehsildar or equivalent from the office of district collector and jurisdictional station master of railways. 
  • The district-level committee's function will be to verify the documents submitted by the applicants and administer the oath of allegiance as specified in the Second Schedule to the Citizenship Act 1955.
  • The officer will sign and forward the applicant's oath online to the Empowered Committee.

Citizenship Law 

According to Article 11 of the Indian constitution, Parliament can make law on Citizenship. Using this power, the Parliament passed the Citizenship Act 1955. This law makes provisions regarding the acquisition and termination of Indian citizenship.  

FAQ

Answer: President Ram Nath Kovind gave his assent to the Citizenship Amendment Bill 2019 on December 12, 2019.

Answer: 11 March 2024

Answer: Afghanistan, Pakistan and Bangladesh

Answer: According to article 11 of the Indian constitution ,Parliament has the power to make law on Citizenship .

Answer: Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, Parsi and Christian from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan are eligible for Indian citizenship.
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