Centre says it does not maintain record of CAA applications

In response to an RTI, the government said there is no provision to maintain a record of the applications. This means the total number of people who would benefit from CAA is not known

Updated - April 17, 2024 07:23 am IST

Published - April 16, 2024 10:03 pm IST - New Delhi

The Union Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has said the government does not have a provision to maintain the record of applications received under the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA).

In a Right to Information query, Ajay Bose, a resident of Amravati in Maharashtra, had sought information about the total number of persons who have applied for citizenship after CAA rules were notified on March 11.

Also read:  Who will benefit from the new CAA Rules? | Explained

In response to the RTI application on April 15, MHA said, “the records are not being maintained as desired by you because the Citizenship Act, 1955 and Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2019 and the rules made there under does (sic) not have the provision to maintain the records of citizenship application received. Further, as per the RTI Act, 2005, CPIO [Central Public Information Officer] is not authorised to create information. Hence the information sought may be treated as NIL.”

The reply assumes significance as the total number of people who would benefit from CAA is not known.

When the legislation was passed in the Rajya Sabha on December 11, 2019, Union Home Minister Amit Shah had said that “lakhs and crores” of people would benefit whereas Derek O’Brien of the Trinamool Congress had mentioned that the Director of the Intelligence Bureau had said in a report that around 31,000 people would be the immediate beneficiaries.

MHA on March 11 notified the CAA rules which enabled the implementation of CAA, four years after it was passed on December 11, 2019 by both Houses of the Parliament.

The CAA enables citizenship to undocumented migrants belonging to six non-Muslim communities — Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, Parsi and Christian from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan, who entered India on or before December 31, 2014 and reduces the period to qualify for citizenship from existing 11 years to five years.

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