Citizenship Amendment Act Set to Come into Effect Next Month

LI Network

Published on: February 28, 2024 at 09:35 IST

After four years since its passage, the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) is reportedly poised to be implemented next month, as per sources. The act, which grants citizenship to religious minorities from Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Bangladesh who settled in India before December 31, 2014, has been a subject of intense debate and protests since its inception.

According to sources, the online portal for registrations is ready, and dry runs have been conducted by the Union Home Ministry. The law specifically targets Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, and Christians from the aforementioned countries and is expected to be enforced before the onset of the model code of conduct for the upcoming general elections.

The timing of the implementation is seen as crucial, especially given the political landscape and the impending elections. Failure to implement the law would have resulted in its lapse, with the time window extending until the dissolution of the Lok Sabha.

The implementation of the CAA has been a significant electoral agenda, particularly in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections and assembly polls in states like West Bengal, where it faced staunch opposition from parties like the Trinamool Congress.

While supporters argue that the CAA will provide refuge to persecuted minorities from neighboring countries, critics have raised concerns about its alleged discriminatory nature, particularly against Muslims, and its potential violation of the secular principles enshrined in the Indian Constitution.

The CAA, along with initiatives such as the National Register of Citizens (NRC) and the National Population Register (NPR), has sparked widespread protests across the country in 2019, although momentum was stalled due to the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Before protests subsided, the rollout of the National Registry of Citizens was halted by the central government, further adding to the complexities surrounding the citizenship debate in India.

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