MHA issues new notification

MHA issues new notification

Activists of Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) take out a procession objecting to Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016, in Guwahati on Tuesday. DH File photo

Amid facing stiff resistance to pass amendments to Citizenship Act, the government has authorised 16 Collectors in seven states to register members of minority community from Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh as Indian citizens.

The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) issued a notification in this regard which said any person belonging to minority community — Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christians — from the three countries can avail the facility.

Those who were given the powers include, collectors of Raipur (Chhattisgarh), Ahmedabad, Gandhinagar and Kutch (Gujarat), Bhopal and Indore (Madhya Pradesh), Nagpur, Mumbai, Pune and Thane (Maharashtra), Jodhpur, Jaisalmer and Jaipur (Rajasthan), Lucknow (Uttar Pradesh) and West Delhi and South Delhi.

The powers for registration were given to the collectors under the Citizenship Act, 1955 (57 of 1955), the notification issued on October 23, said.

The notification came even as the government faced stiff resistance to its move to amend the Citizenship Act. The amendment seeks to grant Indian nationality to people from minority communities from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan after six years of residence in India instead of 12 even if they don't possess any proper document.

The notification said that the secretary, the Department of Home of the concerned state or the Union Territory, has been given the same power in case the applicant is not a resident of the mentioned districts, subjects to certain conditions. The conditions are also applicable to the 16 districts mentioned.

The conditions include the application for registration as a citizen of India or grant of certificate of naturalisation as a citizen of India under the rules is made by the applicant online, the verification of the application is done simultaneously by the collector or the secretary, as the case may be, at the district-level and the state-level and the application and the reports thereon shall be made accessible simultaneously to the central government on online portal.