New Delhi: The Centre on Saturday said that it has delegated power to 13 more District Collectors or District Magistrates to grant citizenship to the non Muslim refugees from minority community in Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan, namely, Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christians residing in the States of Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Mahahrashtra, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh and Union Territory of Delhi.
The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), in a gazette notification on Friday (May 28, 2021) said that the district collectors have been empowered to grant citizenship for registration as a citizen of India under section 5 or for grant of certificate of naturalisation under section 6 of the Citizenship Act, 1955.
“In exercise of the powers conferred by section 16 of the Citizenship Act, 1955 (57 of 1955), the Central Government hereby directs that powers exercisable by it, for registration as a citizen of India under section 5 or for grant of certificate of naturalisation under section 6 of the Citizenship Act, 1955”, the notification said.
In 2018, 16 district collectors were given the power to process the citizenship application under section of 5 and 6 of the Citizenship Act 1956 and now adding 13 more collectors on Friday, the total numbers goes up to 29.
Significantly, the notification was issued under existing provisions of the Citizenship Act, 1955, as rules for the Citizenship Amendment Act have not been framed yet.
District collectors at Morbi, Rajkot, Patan and Vadodara in Gujarat, Durg and Balodabazar in Chhatisgarh, Jalore, Udaipur, Pali, Barmer and Sirohi in Rajasthan, Faridabad in Haryana and Jalandhar in Punjab, have been given powers to carry out the process of verification of the applications for citizenship, according to the gazette notification.
Similar powers have been given to the Home Secretaries of Haryana and Punjab.
The notification has also asked the concerned district collector and Home Secretary to maintain an online as well as physical register, containing details of the person registered or naturalised as a citizen of India and furnish a copy to the central government within seven days of the process.