New Delhi, January 27: Non-Muslim refugees from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan will have to provide proofs of their religious beliefs while applying for Indian citizenship under the controversial Citizenship Amendment Bill (CAA), officials said on Monday.
The applicants belonging to Hindu, Sikh, Christian, Buddhist, Jain or Parsi faiths will also have to furnish documents to prove that they entered India on or before December 31, 2014.
Those who will seek Indian citizenship under the CAA will have to provide proofs of their religious beliefs and this will be mentioned in the rules to be issued under the CAA, a government official said.
According to the CAA, members of Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, Parsi and Christian communities who have come from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan till December 31, 2014, due to religious persecution there will not be treated as illegal immigrants and will be given Indian citizenship.
The central government is also likely to give a relatively smaller window of just three months to those who want to apply for Indian citizenship in Assam under the CAA, another official said.
Some Assam-specific provisions are expected to be incorporated in the rules to be issued for the implementation of the CAA.
SC issues notice to Centre on fresh petitions
The Supreme Court on Monday issued a notice to the Central government on fresh petitions filed before it challenging the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2019, and National Population Register (NPR) process.
A Bench of Chief Justice SA Bobde refused to pass an order to stay the process and tagged the pleas along with other petitions scheduled to be heard by the court.
Fresh petitions were filed before the Supreme Court against the amended citizenship law and population register by All India United Democratic Front, Ason Jana Morcha, and others.
One of the petitions said that the collection of such data may lead to possible unsanctioned state surveillance of private citizens who have not engaged in unlawful activity.
No provision or responsibilities have been fixed in case of unauthorised access to the data by third parties, the petition said.
“The nature of the exercise is manifestly arbitrary with no grounds ‘doubtfulness’ being specified apart from no guarantee of protection and security of the data/information so collected. Such a database would erode basic freedoms that the persons within India currently enjoy,” it said.
The plea said that the entire exercise of creating and updating the population register is a “gross invasion of privacy of private citizens”.
Last week, the Supreme Court had granted the Central government, four weeks’ time to file a reply on over 140 petitions regarding the Citizenship (Amendment) Act and refused to put a stay on the newly enacted law.
The Citizenship Amendment Act, which is facing protest and opposition across the country, grants citizenship to Hindus, Sikhs, Jains, Parsis, Buddhists and Christians fleeing religious persecution from Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Bangladesh and who came to India on or before December 31, 2014. (Agencies)