With around a dozen states announcing that they will not implement the contentious Citizenship Amendment Act, the government is now mulling to make the application process online and curtail the role of district magistrate in the process.
At present, the applications for citizenship will have to be routed through the district magistrate and the government is now contemplating changing the process by designating a new authority for the purpose.
This proposal comes against the backdrop of at least 12 states, including NDA-ruled Bihar, announcing that it will not implement the CAA, which the Opposition says is against the spirit of Constitution as it grants citizenship on the basis of religion. On Tuesday, Kerala Assembly passed a resolution against the CAA.
The CAA grants citizenship to persecuted Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christians from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan who entered India till 31 December 2014. It leaves out Muslims from the ambit of the amendments.
If the process turns online, state governments will have little role in the process. The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has already said that state governments have no power to reject the implementation of CAA, as citizenship comes under Union List. The legislation was enacted under the Union List of the 7th Schedule of the Constitution.
The country is witnessing huge protests against the CAA as well as proposed National Population Register and National Register of Citizens, citing that it discriminates on the lines of religion. Even on New Year eve, several protests were held across the country, including in the national capital.
Besides Kerala and West Bengal, Opposition governments in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Maharashtra, Delhi, Jharkhand and Punjab have also announced that it will not allow CAA-NRC in their states. JD(U) leader and Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar have also announced no NRC in his state even as he partners with BJP.
Similarly, Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Jaganmohan Reddy, whose YSR Congress is perceived to be soft on the BJP-led Centre has also announced that it will not implement in his state.