CAA rules: Centre likely to notify before Model Code of Conduct

The Centre could notify the rules for the widely-debated Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) before the Election Commission of India (ECI) implements the Model Code of Conduct before the 2024 Lok Sabha elections, according to an India Today TV

The CAA aims to grant Indian citizenship to persecuted non-Muslim migrants from Bangladesh, Pakistan, and Afghanistan.

Union Home Minister Amit Shah recently asserted that the CAA would be notified before the Lok Sabha elections.

Mr Shah reiterated that the CAA does not take away anyone’s citizenship.

‘Our Muslim brothers are being misled and instigated (against the CAA). The CAA is only meant to give citizenship to those who came to India after facing persecution in Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh. It is not for snatching anyone’s Indian citizenship,’ Mr Shah said.

CAA was a promise of the Congress government, Mr Shah observed, accusing the party of backtracking on their assurance to provide Indian citizenship to refugees seeking asylum.

The code of conduct for the 2024 Lok Sabha elections to be held possibly end-April, might be implemented anytime in March. The regulations are ready and an online portal for the entire procedure, which will be carried out digitally, is already in place.

Applicants will be required to state the year they entered India without any travel documents and no further documentation will be needed.

‘The regulations are prepared, and an online portal is already set up for the entire process, which will be conducted digitally. Applicants will need to disclose the year of their entry into India without any travel documents. No additional documentation will be required from the applicants,’ agency ANI reported quoting sources.

The CAA 2019 aims to amend the Citizenship Amendment Act of 1955 to provide a fast-track pathway to Indian citizenship for non-Muslim migrants from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan who entered India on or before December 31, 2014, due to religious persecution in their home countries.

The CAA’s implementation sparked protests at Delhi’s Shaheen Bagh and in Assam’s Guwahati since its approval by Parliament in December 2019 and subsequent presidential consent.

Many lost their lives during these protests or due to police action following the law’s passage. The COVID-19 pandemic and its restrictions along with lockdowns put an end to the growing protests.

The CAA was not implemented after more than four years of being passed in the Parliament, since the rules and processes were yet to be finalized.