CITIZENSHIP (AMENDMENT) ACT 2019 (Syllabus: GS Paper 2 – Polity)

News-CRUX-10     16th May 2024        
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Context: Recently, the Union Government issued citizenship certificates to over 300 applicants under the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA), 2019.

Citizenship (Amendment) Act 2019

  • Amended the Citizenship Act, 1955: The act amended the Citizenship Act, 1955 to make illegal migrants eligible for citizenship of India. 
  • Citizenship on the basis of religion: The CAA provides citizenship on the basis of religion to six undocumented non-Muslim communities (Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christians) from Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh who entered India on or before 31st December, 2014.
  • Definition: Under the Act, an illegal migrant is a foreigner who:

o Enters the country without valid travel documents like a passport and visa, or

o Enters with valid documents, but stays beyond the permitted time period.

  • Exemption: Illegal migrants may be put in jail or deported under The Foreigners Act, 1946 and The Passport (Entry into India) Act, 1920.

o It exempts the members of the six communities from any criminal case under the Foreigners Act, 1946 and the Passport Act, 1920.

o The two Acts specify punishment for entering the country illegally and staying here on expired visas and permits.

  • Citizenship by registration or naturalisation: The Act allows a person to apply for citizenship by registration or naturalisation if the person meets certain qualifications.
  • Relaxations: Under The Citizenship Act, 1955, one of the requirements for citizenship by naturalisation is that the applicant must have resided in India during the last 12 months, as well as for 11 of the previous 14 years.

o The amendment relaxes the second requirement from 11 years to 6 years .

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