Government grant power to 31 District Magistrate and 9 State Home Secretaries to grant citizenship to minorities of Pakistan, Bangladesh, Afghanistan

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grant citizenship to minorities of Pakistan, Bangladesh, Afghanistan

According to the annual report of the Union Ministry of Home Affairs, the District Magistrates of 31 districts and the Home Secretaries of nine states have been given powers to grant Indian citizenship to the Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christians coming to the country from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan under the Citizenship Act, 1955.

According to the report of the Ministry from 1 April 2021 to December 31, 2021, a total of 1,414 foreigners belonging to the minority communities of Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan were given Indian citizenship by registration or naturalisation under the Citizenship Act, 1955.

Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2019 (CAA) yet to be implemented in India

The delegation of powers by the Union Home Ministry to the District Magistrates and the Home secretaries of States has not been granted under the controversial Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2019 (CAA).

The CAA also provides for granting Indian citizenship to these non-Muslims coming from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan.

However, the rules under the CAA have not been framed by the government yet and hence, no one so far has been granted Indian citizenship under it.

States which has been given the power by the Central Government 

In 2021 the government gave the power to 13 more District Magistrates and Home Secretaries of two more States. Thus the total number of districts magistrates are now 31 and 9 States.

The nine states where Indian citizenship by registration or naturalisation is given under the Citizenship Act, 1955 to non-Muslim minorities from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan are Gujarat, Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh, Haryana, Punjab, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Delhi and Maharashtra.

Online facility for renunciation of Indian citizenship 

  • According to the report the government has also activated an online module under the “Immigration, Visa and Foreigners Registration & Tracking (IVFRT) platform on August 22, 2021 to process the applications for renunciation of Indian citizenship.
  • Through this module, an Indian citizen of full age and capacity may apply online for renunciation of Indian citizenship.
  • Under the Citizenship Act, 1955, adult Indian citizens can voluntarily renounce citizenship but they have to inform the government.
  • Since there is a provision for single citizenship in India, an Indian citizen who has taken citizenship of a foreign country is also expected to inform the government.
  • All these persons can now use this online facility.

Indian Citizenship through Naturalisation and Registration Process 

Under the Citizenship act 1955 citizenship can be granted to a foreigner through Naturalisation and Registration process also

Registration process

Who can apply? 

  • It is for Person of Indian Origin who is resident in India for at least 7 years.
  • A foreigner married to an Indian citizen and who is a resident in India for at least 7 years.
  • Person of full age who has been registered as an Overseas Indian Citizen for at least five years and resident in India for at least One year.
  • These people have to apply for citizenship to the respective District Magistrate where they are residing.

Naturalisation process 

A foreigner who does not come under the category of foreigner  as defined in the Registration process has to be resident of India for at least 15 years before applying for the citizenship of India .

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