Stand of State governments will not impact CAA: official

As the applications will be filed online, the procedure leaves little scope for the involvement of the State government officials or local police, a senior Home Ministry official said.

March 12, 2024 10:27 pm | Updated March 13, 2024 10:53 am IST - NEW DELHI:

The Tamil Nadu Chief Minister’s statement that the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), 2019 will not be implemented in the State will have no impact on the implementation of the legislation as citizenship is the domain of the Union government, a senior government official said on Tuesday.

The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has entrusted the task of processing the citizenship applications under the CAA to the Postal department and Census officials who function under the Union government and the responsibility of conducting background and security check lies with the Central security agencies such as the Intelligence Bureau (IB), according to a notification issued on Monday.

As the applications will be filed online, the procedure leaves little scope for the involvement of the State government officials or local police, a senior Home Ministry official said.

The final decision on applications will be taken by the empowered committee headed by the Director (Census Operations) in each State, which will include officers from the Intelligence Bureau, the Post Master General, State or National Informatics Centre official, and a representative each from the Department of Home of the State government and the Divisional Railway Manager will be the invitees. The district-level committee, which will be the primary body to sift the applications, will be headed by the Superintendent, Department of Post and will have an official not below the rank of Naib Tehsildar or equivalent from the office of District Collector representing the State government only as an invitee.

Applications received

The official said that on Tuesday several applicants registered on the portal after it was launched on Monday. The registration requires a payment of ₹50. “There are several categories for citizenship under Section 6B of the CAA that are to be filled by applicants; also several documents are to be uploaded in definite format along with submission of affidavit and eligibility certificate [to establish faith] that are to be issued by local institutions. The final number of applicants will be available once the forms have been completely filled and submitted on the portal,” the official said.

Besides submitting the documents online, which includes those issued by the government authorities in Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan, the applicant will have to appear before the district-level committee in person. An explainer on CAA rules notified on Monday states that after the online form has been scrutinised, the “applicant will be intimated through e-mail/SMS, the date and time on which the applicant would be expected to visit the DLC [district-level committee] in person along with originals of all the documents attached with the application for verification.”

If the documents are found in order, the Designated Officer will administer “Oath of Allegiance” to the applicant and the digital copies will be forwarded to the empowered committee which will take the final decision.

The MHA on Monday notified the Citizenship Amendment Rules, 2024 that would enable the implementation of the CAA, passed by the Parliament four years ago.

Also read | Opposition spreading lies about CAA, claims Amit Shah

The legislation facilitates citizenship to undocumented people belonging to Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Parsi, Christian and Jain community from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan who entered India on or before December 31, 2014 and fast-tracks the process by reducing the eligibility to five years’ continuous stay.

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