All You Need To Know About CAA

Everything About CAA

As anticipated, on Monday, the Centre announced the rules for implementing the CAA (Citizenship Amendment Act) 2019 ahead of the 2024 general elections. This has made it easy to grant citizenship to undocumented non-Muslim migrants from Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Bangladesh.

The law opens the way for Sikh, Hindu, Parsi, Buddhist, Jain, and Christian refugees who came to India before 31 December 2014 from Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Bangladesh to obtain Indian citizenship without having an Indian visa or a valid passport from these countries.

What is CAA?

The CAA aims to safeguard individuals who have sought refuge in India due to religious oppression. It provides them a shield against the proceedings of illegal migration. The applicant must have entered India on or before 31 December 2014.

Currently, Indian citizenship is only granted to those born in India or who have lived in the nation for at least 11 years. The presented amendment also includes a cancellation provision of OCI (Overseas Citizen of India) registration if the OCI cardholder disobeys any provision of the Citizenship Act or any other relevant law.

Under the 2019 amendment act, migrants who entered India before 31 December and have suffered “religious persecution or worry of religious persecution” in their country of origin will be eligible for accelerated citizenship.

The 2019 amendment act to CAA further relaxed the residents’ need for the naturalization of these migrants from 12 years to just 6 years. The Intelligence Bureau report said that once the rules of the act are notified, over 30,000 immediate beneficiaries will be from the act. 

Who Does CAA Leave Out?

Since 2019, the argument with the leading opposition parties has been that the law is discriminative as it only targets Muslims. Muslims make up around 15% of the nation’s population. The Indian government explains that since Bangladesh, Pakistan, and Afghanistan are Islamic republics with a Muslim majority, they can’t be regarded as oppressed minorities. However, they ensure that applications from other different communities will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis.

The Exceptions of CAA

The CAA for illegal migrants will not apply to specific areas. These areas include the tribal regions of Tripura, Assam, Mizoram, and Meghalaya, as included in the 6th schedule of the constitution. Additionally, these exceptions include the states regulated by the “Inner Line” permit under the 1873 Bengal Eastern Frontier Regulations.

These 6th Schedule tribal regions include Tripura Tribal Areas District, Karbi Anglong (Assam), Chakma District (Mizoram), and Garo Hills (Meghalaya). The Inner Line Permit further regulates the entry of all citizens, including Indian people, to Nagaland, Arunachal Pradesh, and Mizoram.

Overseas Citizens of India (OCI)

The CAA also amended provisions related to OCI (Overseas Citizens Of India) cardholders. Under the 1955 Act, any foreigner who is not of Indian origin or an Indian person’s spouse may register as an OCI. This will offer them several benefits, such as the right to travel to India and to study and work in the nation.

The law has also amended thOCI registration cancellation if an individualn individual has disobeyed any law notified by the Central Government.

The CAA Bill is Not Against Minorities

In December 2019, while presenting the Bill in Rajya Sabha, Amit Shah, the Union Home Minister, said that the bill would offer a new ray of hope to people belonging to Buddhist, Hindu, Christian, Sikh, and Parsi communities who have migrated to India after encountering persecution on the ground of religion in Bangladesh, Pakistan, and Afghanistan.

The bill generated criticism for discriminating against minorities. Muslims fear that this law, mixed with a proposed National Register of Citizens (NRC), would marginalize them. The NRC has been executed in Assam for now. However, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has promised to roll it out across India.

However, Amit Shah, in his Rajya Sabha speech, said that the CAA bill was not against any Indian minority. He further added that the rights of every Indian citizen would be equally shielded. The Union Home Minister stated that Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government was committed to safeguarding the rights of every citizen of the nation.

He further added, “The foremost religion that the Modi government pursues is the Constitution of India. We are not here only to run the government but to solve the genuine problems of the common man.”

The Legal Challenge

In 2020, the amendment was challenged before the Supreme Court by the Indian Union Muslim League (IUML). Since then, more than twenty petitions have been tagged and filed with the IUML’s challenge. These also include petitions from politicians Mahua Moitra, Asaduddin Owaisi, Ramesh Chennithala, and Jairam Ramesh. Also, some political organizations, including the Asom Gana Parishad (AGP)< Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK), Assam Pradesh Congres Committee, National People’s Party (Assam), and Muslim Student’s Federation (Assam). 

In the year 2022, a bench including then Chief Justice of India UU Lalit and Justices Hima Kohli and Ravindra Bhat passed an order remarking that final hearings would start in December 2023 after CJI Lalit’s retirement. However, this particular case has not been heard since then.

According to the Supreme Court site, a bench headed by Justice Pankaj Mithal is currently handling the case.

Timeline of Events: Anti-CAA Protests

The Parliament passed the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) on 11 December 2019. Further, it was notified on 12 December of the same year. However, the rules were not notified, and thus, they were not implemented at that time.

About over 4 years after amending the act, it was notified that the Union Home Ministry would announce the rules and regulations of CAA before the General Elections of Lok Sabha, tentatively planned for April-May 2024.

According to the Ministry of Home Affairs annual report for the year 2021-22, from 1 April 2021 to 31 December 2021, 1414 foreigners belonging to these non-muslim minority communities from Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Bangladesh were provided Indian citizenship by naturalization or registration under the Citizenship Act, 1955.

From December 2019 to February 2020, there was an anti-CAA wave of protests across the nation, which ultimately led to the Northeast Delhi riots. After the law was passed in 2019, the Union Home Ministry took extensions at periodic intermissions from the committees. This was done to frame the rules for eligible citizens to submit applications for Indian citizenship. 

On March 11, 2024, the Centre informed the rules of the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA). These specific rules come months after Amit Shah, Union Home Minister, promised that this would be accomplished before the 2024 national polls, which are due this summer.

According to the rules, the whole process of proposing Indian citizenship applications under the law will be online for all eligible applicants.

How to Apply for Citizenship Under CAA?

Follow the step-by-step guide to apply for citizenship under CAA.

  1. On the Indian Citizenship Online Portal, select the “Click to submit an application for Indian citizenship Under CAA 2019” option.
  2. Type your mobile number, enter the CAPTCHA Code, and move to the next page.
  3. On the next page, enter your name, email ID, and the Captcha Code.
  4. Select the submit option.
  5. Check your mobile and email for an OTP. Enter the One-time password and verify it to proceed.
  6. For additional verification, re-enter the Captcha code. 
  7. Open the login page and type your mobile number or email ID along with the captcha code. Click on continue. 
  8. You will get another OTP on your mobile number. Enter the OTP and re-write the Captcha code. Click on the option “Verify and Proceed.”
  9. After a successful verification, the “Click Here to Initiate Fresh Application” option will appear. 
  10. Answer some questions about the applicant’s history, including pre-2014 residence, duration of stay, and place of origin.

Final Line

More than 4 years after Parliament passed the CAA (Citizenship Amendment Act) 2019, the Ministry of Home Affairs on March 11 notified the rules to execute the law on Monday. The law opens the way for Sikh, Hindu, Parsi, Christian, and Buddhist refugees. This is especially true for those who came to India before 31 December 2014 from Bangladesh, Afghanistan, and Pakistan. 


What is the CAA rule in India?

The CAA in India is a rule which was passed by the Parliament in 2019 amid huge riots across the nation. The act accelerated the citizenship process for non-muslim minorities. 

What is the meaning of CAA?

The Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) was passed to offer citizenship to non-muslim immigrants.

Is the CAA and NRC bill passed?

The Indian government issued a notification on Monday evening regarding the CAA, which came into effect today, weeks before the Lok Sabha General Elections 2024.

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