The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) on Monday, issued a notification empowering the collectors of Mehsana and Anand districts in Gujarat to grant citizenship to Hindus, Jains, Sikhs, Buddhists, Parsis and Christians from Muslim-majority countries like Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan under the provisions of the Citizenship Act, 1955, reported The Indian Express.
Interestingly, the Centre has issued notification of giving citizenship certificates to the persecuted minorities from the neighbouring countries under the original Citizenship Act and not the recently passed Citizenship Amendment Act, 2019 (CAA) in the Parliament.
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The CAA allowed members from the Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Parsi, Jain and Sikh communities from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan, who entered India on or before December 31, 2014, to expedite their citizenship application under the process of naturalisation or registration.
The Home Ministry directed local authorities to maintain all conditions mentioned in the Constitution in granting citizenship to the religiously persecuted communities through the process of registration. In August, the Gujarat government had granted citizenship to 40 Pakistani Hindus at the Ahmedabad Collector’s office. Local authorities in the district have handed citizenship certificates to 1,032 Pakistanis since 2017.
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A Chief Justice of India-led bench is slated to hear several petitions challenging the CAA on December 6. Meanwhile, the Home Ministry on Sunday told the Supreme Court that the recent amendment to the Citizenship Act may not fall under the purview of a judicial review as it was a legislative decision. In its 150-page affidavit, the government said that the Parliament reserves the sole right to decide upon matters concerning citizenship as per the Constitution and such decisions cannot be questioned by filing PILs.