CAA Full Form – CAA Law Complete Information

Ranjay Kumar

CAA Full Form - CAA Law Complete Information
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The Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) is an acronym that stands for the Citizenship Amendment Act.CAA Full Form, To learn more about CAA, continue reading.

The Citizenship (Amendment) Act of 2019, which was passed by Parliament on December 11, 2019, and received presidential approval, amends the Citizenship Act of 1955. Under the Citizenship Act of 1955, citizenship can be acquired through various means such as birth, descent, registration, naturalization, and incorporation of territories into India. Additionally, the Act regulates the registration and rights of Overseas Citizens of India (OCIs). OCIs are entitled to several privileges, including multiple entries into India and a lifelong multipurpose visa for visiting India.

Prohibition on Acquiring Indian Citizenship for Illegal Migrants

Illegal migrants cannot obtain Indian citizenship. An illegal migrant is defined as someone who enters India without proper visa approval or valid documents. Foreigners with invalid travel documents may enter legally but overstay their visa period. In India, illegal migrants may face penalties including arrest, fines, lawsuits, charges, deportation, or imprisonment.

Certain categories of illegal migrants were granted government protection in September 2015 and July 2016. These include migrants from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, or Pakistan who entered India on or before December 31, 2014, and belong to religious groups such as Hinduism, Sikhism, Buddhism, Jainism, Parsi, or Christianity.

The Citizenship (Amendment) Bill 2019 proposed several significant changes:

  • The Bill amends the Act to provide benefits to migrants from Hinduism, Sikhism, Buddhism, Jainism, Parsis, and Christianity communities from neighboring countries like Afghanistan, Bangladesh, and Pakistan who entered India before or on December 31, 2014. These migrants will not be considered unlawful migrants. To avail of this benefit, individuals must have been exempted by the central government from the Foreigners Act of 1946 and the Passport Act of 1920.
  • The Passport Act of 1920 mandates immigrants to possess a passport, while the Foreigners Act of 1946 regulates the admission and departure of foreigners from India.
  • Citizenship through registration or naturalization is permitted under specific criteria. For instance, a person who has resided in India for a year and has at least one parent who was an Indian citizen can apply for citizenship through registration. Naturalization requires a person to have lived in India or served the central government for at least 11 years prior to applying for citizenship. However, the Bill reduces this requirement to five years for Hinduism, Sikhism, Buddhism, Jainism, Parsis, and Christianity communities from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, and Pakistan.
  • Upon gaining citizenship, individuals are considered citizens from the day they were admitted into the country, and any legal proceedings related to their unlawful migration or nationality are concluded.
  • The Amended Act’s applicability excludes the tribal areas of Assam, Meghalaya, Mizoram, and Tripura listed in the Sixth Schedule of the Constitution from restrictions on nationality for illegal migration. Similarly, it does not apply to the “Inner Line” areas regulated by the Bengal Eastern Frontier Regulation of 1873, where Indian access is governed by Inner Line Permits.
  • The Act also grants the central government the authority to cancel the registration of Overseas Citizen of India (OCI) Cardholders under specific circumstances, including registration obtained through deception or if the OCI holder is sentenced to two years or more in jail within five years of registration, or if it is deemed necessary for India’s territorial sovereignty and regional security.

What is the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA)?

The Citizenship Amendment Bill modifies the Citizenship Act of 1955 to grant eligibility for citizenship to Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, Parsi, and Christian illegal migrants from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, and Pakistan. Today, the Modi government has officially notified the Citizenship (Amendment) Rules, 2024, allowing minorities persecuted on religious grounds in these countries to acquire Indian citizenship. The bill was introduced in the Lok Sabha on December 9, 2019, passed the Lok Sabha on the same day, and was subsequently passed by the Rajya Sabha on December 11, 2019.

What are the primary characteristics of the law?

The Citizenship Act of 1955 defines the criteria for acquiring Indian citizenship. Eligibility includes being born in India, having Indian parents, or residing in the country for a specified period. Conversely, illegal migrants are barred from obtaining Indian citizenship. An illegal migrant is someone who enters without valid travel documents or overstays their permitted duration.

Under the Foreigners Act of 1946 and the Passport (Entry into India) Act of 1920, illegal migrants may face imprisonment or deportation. These laws authorize the central government to regulate the entry, exit, and residency of foreigners in India.

After the implementation of the CAA (Citizenship Amendment Act), several outcomes are expected.

The Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) grants citizenship to refugees who fled to India from neighboring countries due to religious persecution. Despite widespread misconceptions, the CAA is intended to provide citizenship, not revoke it from any Indian citizen regardless of their religion. It specifically targets those who have faced long-standing persecution and have no alternative safe haven outside India.

The implementation of the Citizenship Amendment Act was initially delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic but has since been put into effect. The BJP pledged in its 2019 Lok Sabha election manifesto to enact the Citizenship Amendment Bill to safeguard religious minorities persecuted in neighboring nations.

Key Points to Understand About the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA)

The Union Home Ministry has issued a notification for the Citizenship (Amendment) Act 2019 (CAA), paving the way for non-Muslim refugees from Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Afghanistan to obtain Indian citizenship. Here are 10 key points related to this:

  • CAA stands for the Citizenship Amendment Act, which grants Indian citizenship to six religious minorities (Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis, and Christians) who migrated from Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Afghanistan before December 2014.
  • The notification by the Union Home Ministry was issued on 11 March 2024, just ahead of the Lok Sabha elections. It aims to provide citizenship to non-Muslim immigrants from these countries.
  • Eligibility for Indian citizenship under CAA is restricted to those who sought refuge in India before 31 December 2014, specifically from Bangladesh, Pakistan, and Afghanistan.
  • The Citizenship Amendment Bill (CAB) was passed by Parliament in December 2019 and later received Presidential approval, sparking protests in various states.
  • The CAA rules have been finalized, and the application process is conducted entirely online. Applicants do not need additional documents beyond indicating their arrival date in India.
  • District Magistrates and Home Secretaries from nine states have been authorized to grant Indian citizenship under the Citizenship Act 1955 to eligible minorities from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, and Pakistan.
  • According to the Ministry of Home Affairs’ 2021 Annual Report, 1414 individuals from non-Muslim minority communities who arrived from these countries between April 2021 and December 2021 were granted Indian citizenship.
  • Indian citizens are unaffected by CAA, as they already possess citizenship rights guaranteed by the Constitution, which cannot be revoked by the CAA.
  • Home Minister Amit Shah introduced CAA in the Lok Sabha on 9 December 2019, and it was passed on 11 December 2019 with 125 votes in favor and 105 against, receiving Presidential assent the next day.
  • The Citizenship Amendment Bill 2016, which later became CAA 2019, was initially introduced in 2016 and underwent scrutiny by a Joint Parliamentary Committee before its passage and enactment into law.

How can migrants apply for Indian citizenship

The entire registration process will be conducted online through a portal being developed by the Ministry of Home Affairs. Applicants must specify the year of their entry into India. Notably, no documents will be required from the applicants.

What is the stance of the opposition?

The Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), passed in 2019, has encountered significant opposition since its inception. Critics argue that the law exhibits discriminatory tendencies, particularly towards Muslims, who constitute approximately 15 percent of India’s population. The government, however, asserts that applications from other communities will also be duly considered.

The Congress party alleges that the timing of the CAA notification was strategically chosen to influence the upcoming Lok Sabha elections in Assam and West Bengal.

Tragically, the anti-CAA protests have resulted in the loss of over 100 lives.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the full form of CAA?

CAA stands for Citizenship Amendment Act.

What is the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA)?

The CAA is an amendment to the Citizenship Act, 1955, which provides a path to Indian citizenship for religious minorities from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, and Pakistan who arrived in India before December 31, 2014.

Who does the CAA apply to?

The CAA applies to Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, Parsi, and Christian immigrants from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, and Pakistan who entered India before December 31, 2014.

Why has the CAA faced opposition?

The CAA has faced opposition because critics argue that it excludes Muslims and is therefore discriminatory. Some also contend that it undermines the secular principles of the Indian Constitution.

Does the CAA affect Indian citizens?

No, the CAA does not impact the citizenship status of Indian citizens, regardless of their religion.

What is the connection between CAA and NRC?

The CAA and the National Register of Citizens (NRC) are separate issues. The CAA provides a pathway to citizenship for certain immigrants, while the NRC is a proposed nationwide exercise to identify undocumented immigrants.

Has the CAA been challenged in court?

Yes, the CAA has been challenged in the Supreme Court of India. Several petitions have been filed questioning its constitutionality and compliance with India’s secular principles.

Is the CAA in effect across India?

Yes, the CAA is a national law and applies uniformly across India.

What assurances have been given by the government regarding the CAA?

The government has assured that the CAA does not take away anyone’s citizenship, and it has reiterated its commitment to protect the rights of all citizens.

What are the key dates related to the CAA?

The Citizenship Amendment Act was passed on December 11, 2019, and came into effect on January 10, 2020.

conclusion

The Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) is a significant amendment to India’s Citizenship Act of 1955. It offers a pathway to Indian citizenship for religious minorities from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, and Pakistan who arrived in India before December 31, 2014. Despite its enactment, the CAA has sparked widespread debate and opposition, primarily due to concerns over its exclusionary nature towards Muslims and its perceived impact on India’s secular fabric. The CAA has been challenged in the Supreme Court, reflecting ongoing legal and societal discussions about its constitutionality and implications. Understanding the CAA requires consideration of its legislative intent, legal challenges, and its broader implications for Indian society and politics.

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