The notified CAA rules

The Union Government has finally framed the rules pertaining to the Citizenship Amendment Act 2019 and notified accordingly on March 11, 2024, i.e., almost four years since the passing of the CAA.
The notified CAA rules

 Udayan Hazarika

(The writer can be reached at

The Union Government has finally framed the rules pertaining to the Citizenship Amendment Act 2019 and notified accordingly on March 11, 2024, i.e., almost four years since the passing of the CAA. The Government of India framed the rules in exercise of its power under Section 18 of the Citizenship Act, which requires the framing of rules on certain subjects. Accordingly, the government has come up with an amendment to the Citizenship Rules of 2009. These rules have come into force immediately upon their notification in the official gazette on March 11th, as per Rule 1(2) of these rules. Since the present Citizenship Amendment Act 2019 has admitted a distinctly separate category of persons for providing citizenship in India, a new set of rules is required to be framed in parallel to the original set of rules concerning the application, scrutiny, and conferment of citizenship to this category of people. The set of rules mainly amended the rules 10, 11, 13, 15, and 17 of the existing rules by mainly inserting additional rules 10A, 11A, 13A, 14-A, 14C, etc., along with several numbers of sub-rules under them.

The existing Rule 10 of the Citizenship Rules provides the basic requirements for getting citizenship of India by an application for registration as a citizen or by naturalization. It provides that such an application should be in a prescribed form (Form VIII), which should accompany an undertaking that the person concerned shall relinquish the citizenship of his or her country if his or her application is approved for citizenship. The applicant is also to swear an affidavit to the extent of the correctness of the information provided in the application. The applicant also has to certify his or her adequate knowledge of the Indian language. Below this rule, the new rule, namely 10A, has been inserted, which is specifically prepared in tune with Section 6B of the CAA. Section 6B of the CAA is the primary section that provides for the manner of granting citizenship, either by registration or by naturalization. Subsection (2) of this section provides that such citizenship is granted from the days of his entry into India. The first incidence of conferring citizenship on such a person is that any proceeding pending against him for his being an illegal migrant or citizen shall stand abated. A proviso added to this section also states that a person cannot be denied the right to make an application for citizenship, even if any proceeding against him is pending in any court. His application cannot be rejected on that ground.

The concerned rules, namely Rules 10A, specify various application forms for various categories of persons for applying for registration of their name as citizens of India or acquiring citizenship by naturalization. Sub-rule (1) of the rules states that submission of the application form for registration as a citizen or by naturalization from an eligible person shall not be accepted unless the same is accompanied by an application in a specified form (IIA) from a person of Indian origin. If the person applying for citizenship is married to a person of Indian origin, the specified form will be Form IIIA. Separate forms shall have to be used for minors, for persons having Indian parents, etc. The other conditions, like submission of an undertaking for renouncing his existing citizenship and submission of an affidavit for the correctness of facts and a certificate of knowledge of the Indian language, etc., shall remain the same as are provided in Rule 10. The applicant is also to submit two categories of documents, namely: i) as proof that he/she belongs to either Afghanistan, Bangladesh, or Pakistan, for which nine types of certificates have been specified; for example, a copy of a passport, birth certificate, registration certificate, or residential permit issued by the Foreigners Regional Registration Officer, a school certificate or college certificate, a university certificate, etc.; and ii) as proof of his/her entering India prior to December 31, 2014. Any one of the 19 certificates from the list shall have to be enclosed.

Rules 11 of the principle rules explain to whom the application for registration of citizenship is to be submitted. The rules provide that the application shall be submitted to the collector of the district in which the applicant resides. There is also a provision for the collector to administer an oath of allegiance to the applicant if his particulars are found satisfactory. The present Rule 11A has inserted certain modifications specifying additional requirements for the applicants. Like Rule 11, the new Rule 11A also provides for the manner in which the application is submitted to the authority and how citizenship is conferred. The application in this regard shall be submitted to the Empowered Committee through the district-level committee. The empowered committee and the district-level committee will both be constituted by the Union Government through a notification. In fact, the Union Government has already issued separate notifications for the constitution of an empowered committee and a district-level committee in states and UTs. The Director of Census Operations of the State shall head the empowered committee. The members of the Committee shall be an officer in the Subsidiary Intelligence Bureau not below the rank of deputy secretary, the jurisdictional Foreigners Regional Registration Officer, the State Informatics Officer of the National Informatics Centre (NIC) of the State or Union Territory concerned, or the Post Master General of the State or Union Territory concerned. There are also provisions for special invitees.

As regards the district committees, the notification said they will be headed by the jurisdictional senior superintendent or superintendent of posts. The notification further said that the empowered committee can make an inquiry if it considers it necessary for ascertaining the suitability of the applicant, including obtaining a report from the security agency.

The designated officer of the district-level committee shall examine and verify the documents submitted by the applicant. The designated officer, after verification, if found satisfactory, shall administer the applicant an oath of allegiance and then submit the forms to the empowered committee electronically. In case the applicants fail to appear before the designated officer for oaths, etc., reasonable opportunities shall be given to him, and if even after that he doesn’t appear, the application forms along with all testimonials shall be sent to the empowered committee for refusal.

The existing Rule 13 is the main rule that confers citizenship on the applicant of the citizenship of India\ if the applicant is found satisfactory. The newly inserted rule, i.e., Rule 13A, explains the functions of the Empowered Committee. The Empowered Committee, upon receipt of the application for citizenship, shall scrutinize the application and confirm that it is complete in all respects and that the applicant fulfils all the conditions necessary for granting citizenship by registration or  naturalization. The Empowered Committee is entrusted with the power to issue a citizenship certificate to the applicant once they are satisfied that the applicant is eligible. There are also amendments to three other existing rules, namely rules 14, 15, and 16. Rule 14 is related to the issue of certificates. These rules enable a person to get a digitally signed certificate after he is granted citizenship by registration or naturalization.

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