Govt Asks 5 States to Accept Minorities From 3 Nations as Citizens
The order been issued under the Citizenship Act 1955 and provisions of the Citizenship Rules 2009.
The central government issued a gazette notification on Friday, 28 May, directing the authorities in the 13 districts of Gujarat, Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan, Haryana, and Punjab to verify and accept the citizenship applications of people belonging to non-Muslim communities – Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christians – from Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Bangladesh.
The order been issued under the Citizenship Act 1955 and provisions of the Citizenship Rules 2009. The rules under the Citizenship (Amendment) Act 2019 are yet to be framed by the government.
WHAT DOES THE NOTIFICATION SAY?
The notification, issued by the Ministry of Home Affairs, says, “In exercise of the powers conferred by section 16 of the Citizenship Act, 1955 (57 of 1955), the Central Government hereby directs that powers exercisable by it, for registration as a citizen of India under section 5, or for grant of certificate of naturalisation under section 6, of the Citizenship Act, 1955, in respect of any person belonging to minority community in Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan, namely, Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christians....”
It adds that this will be exercisable by the collector, within whose jurisdiction the applicant resides. The same power has been granted to the Secretary of the Department of Home of the states of Haryana and Punjab, except the district of Faridabad in Haryana and the district of Jalandhar in Punjab where the collector acts.
“The verification of the application is done simultaneously by the Collector or the Secretary, as the case may be, at the district level and the State level and the application and the reports thereon shall be made accessible simultaneously to the Central Government on online portal,” the notification reads.
The collector and secretary have been told to maintain an online and a physical register containing details of the person “registered or naturalised” as an Indian citizen. They have been directed to furnish a copy of the same to the central government within seven days.
WHICH ARE THE DISTRICT IN QUESTION?
The districts in the notification are:
- Morbi, Rajkot, Patan, and Vadodara in the state of Gujarat
- Durg and Balodabazar in the state of Chhattisgarh
- Jalore, Udaipur, Pali, Barmer, and Sirohi in the state of Rajasthan
- Faridabad in the state of Haryana
- Jalandhar in the state of Punjab
UNDER WHICH LAW HAS THE ORDER BEEN ENACTED?
The order has been issued under the Citizenship Act 1955 and provisions of the Citizenship Rules 2009.
In December 2019, Parliament amended the Citizenship Act granting citizenship to migrants belonging to Hindu, Jain, Sikh, Parsi, Christian and Buddhist communities from Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Afghanistan. This led to widespread criticism and large-scale protests across the country.
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