Although the government is going slow on the framing of the rules because of the widespread protests against the new law, the Ministry of Home Affairs and the Law Ministry have begun working on the rules, which will list a set of “conditions and restrictions” for refugees who want to benefit from the law.
“There will be a set of restrictions pertaining to both India and the countries of birth of these refugees,” the sources said.
Among the restrictions is that the refugees claiming citizenship under the CAA may not be allowed to travel to the country of their “origin.”
This, the sources said, was necessitated because of security reasons but did not elaborate.
But informed persons said as the refugees will not be asked for too many documents while applying for Indian citizenship, the government feels that anti-national elements could misuse the relaxed provisions of the CAA.
Union Home Minister Amit Shah has in the past said “all Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, Parsi and Christian communities will get citizenship.
We want to walk up to them and give them citizenship. And this would not require any document.” Citizenship applications by non-Muslims from Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh will be accepted online, the sources said, while documents—the list of which will be laid down in the rules– will be verified by a designated authority.
While the restriction for visiting their “original” country is being considered, the authorities are also contemplating how to ascertain claims by the refugees of religious persecution or the fear of facing such a prospect.
“There is no such system or document to prove that (religious persecution). We will see,” said a top government official.
The sources said the government is looking at procedures followed to grant citizenship to Tamil immigrants from Sri Lanka who fled the island nation to escape the ethnic conflagration.
According to the MHA, 4.61 lakh Tamils of Indian origin were given Indian citizenship during 1964-2008, 1.5 lakh alone by the Rajiv Gandhi government in 1984-89.
The rules, which are a must for the implementation of the law, are likely to be released before January 22 when the Supreme Court will hear more than 50 petitions challenging the constitutionality of the law, officials indicated.
Under the CAA, Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christians who have come from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan on or before December 31, 2014, after facing “religious persecution” will be eligible for Indian citizenship.