Centre sets off to implement the unconstitutional, discriminatory law

The Ministry of Home Affairs appears to have set off on its most contentious, discriminatory, and anti-constitutional Citizenship Amendment Act, 2019. The Union Home Ministry issued a notification on May 28 to immediately implement the order while exercising its powers under section 16 of the Citizenship Act 1995. The Centre invited applications for Indian Citizenship from non-muslims like Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis, and Christians from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, and Pakistan.

The MHA directed its powers under section 5 of the Citizenship Act to register as a citizen and to grant naturalization certificates under section 6 to the respective District Collectors. People from 13 districts, such as Morbi, Rajkot, Patan, and Vadodara of Gujarat, Durg, and Balodabazar of Chhattisgarh, Jalore, Udaipur, Pali, Barmer and Sirohi in Rajasthan, Faridabad in Haryana, and Jalandhar in Punjab can apply for Citizenship.

Additionally, the powers have also been extended to the Secretary of the Department of Home of the States of Haryana and Punjab, within whose administration the applicant is ordinarily resident.

The notification also directs procedures for the verification of the application. The applicant from a minority community considered by the Citizenship Act, coming from Afghanistan, Pakistan, or Bangladesh must apply for Citizenship online. The Collector shall verify this application at the district level or the Secretary at the state level. These applications and reports are to be made accessible simultaneously to the Centre on an online portal.

The Collector or Secretary has to make such inquiry as deemed necessary for ascertaining the applicant’s suitability, including forwarding the application to such agencies for verification and comments that may be required. The notification states that the instructions issued by the central government from time to time in this regard shall strictly comply.

On being satisfied with the applicant’s suitability, the Collector or the Secretary must grant him the Citizenship of India by registration or naturalization and issue a certificate of registration or naturalization, duly printed from an online portal and signed by the Collector or the Secretary in the form.

The Collector or the Secretary has to maintain an online and physical register consisting the details of the person registered or naturalized as a citizen of India and provide a copy to the Centre within seven days of such registration or naturalization.

Amid a deadly wave of Covid-19 pandemic, when India is struggling to recover from the crisis, the fact that MHA is hell-bent on implementing the unconstitutional law, which had provoked rage amongst the people, leading to widespread protests in the whole country.

Under Modi’s regime, it seems that these contentious politics overrule all the other crises in the country. While many protestors are still behind bars in the guise of conspiring Delhi violence of February 2020, the Centre’s decision to implement the discriminatory law is an evident violation of dissent in a democracy.

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