May 28 order on granting citizenship not related to CAA: MHA tells SC
New Delhi, June 15: The Ministry of Home Affairs told the Supreme Court that its order dated May 28 delegating powers to the District Collectors in 13 districts across five states to grant citizenship to non-Muslims from Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh has no relation at all with the CAA.
The Act passed in 2019 has been challenged in the Supreme Court and was introduced to grant Indian citizenship to the persecuted minorities-Hindus, Christians, Buddhists, Parsis and Sikhs.
The Indian Union Muslim League said that the May 28 order was a deliberate ploy to implement the CAA. The MHA however said that the order merely delegates the power of granting citizenship by registration and naturalisation to the local authorities in particular cases.
"The Central Government used its authority under Section 16 of the Citizenship Act. It is merely a process of decentralisation of decision-making aimed at speedy disposal of the citizenship applications of such foreigners. It has no relation whatsoever to the CAA," the MHA said in its affidavit.
"If it has no relation to CAA, where does the May 28 notification draw authority from to specify the same communities for the same three countries for facilitating the citizenship process," the IUML argued.
"Now District Collectors of 29 districts and Home Secretaries of nine States will exercise powers of Central Government to grant citizenship to the specified category of foreigners. The Central Government has also retained its right to simultaneously use these powers any time," the affidavit of the MHA said.
The MHA said that any foreigner can apply for citizenship of India at any time, the MHA said. The order dated May 28 extended the powers to the District Collectors of Rajkot, Morbi, Patan and Vadodara in Gujarat, Jalore, Udaipur, Pali, Barmer and Sirohi in Rajasthan, Durg and Balodabazar in Chhattisgarh, Faridabad in Haryana and Jalandhar in Punjab and to Home Secretaries of Punjab and Haryana.