Grant of citizenship only after CAA rules notified, Centre tells HC
The Centre has told the Rajasthan high court that the ministry of home affairs (MHA) is in the process of framing of rules under the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA), 2019 and eligible people can submit applications for grant of Indian citizenship once the rules are notified.
A division bench, comprising Justice Sangeet Lodha and Justice Rameshwar Vyas, is hearing a public interest litigation related to the issues of Pakistani immigrants living in India on long-term visas (LTVs).
The amended Act aims to grant Indian citizenship to six minorities - Hindus, Sikhs, Jains, Buddhist, Christians and Parsis from Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh, who have faced or fled fearing religious persecution. The law, which ran into a controversy because it excludes Muslims, will be applicable to those who entered India before December 2014.
Vipul Singhvi, counsel for the Centre, told the court on Friday that MHA received 20,370 applications from the Rajasthan government for issuing LTVs from January 1, 2015 to August 25, 2020, of which 20,080 have been disposed of. As many as 115 applications are currently pending and 239 have been sent back to the foreigners regional registration officer for clarification.
Singhvi submitted that the return visa of LTV holders, who have gone to Pakistan on No Objection to Return to India (NORI) before the lockdown and have been stranded there due to travel restrictions, has been extended by the MHA for 15 days. The extension is effective from the date on which restrictions on travel from Pakistan to India are lifted by the Centre.
The MHA has conveyed ‘no objection’ for return of 410 LTV holders whose details were received from the ministry of external affairs or the High Commission of India in Islamabad, Singhvi told the court.