The Central government on Monday told the Supreme Court that its recent notification regarding granting citizenship to minorities coming from Afghanistan, Pakistan and Bangladesh has no connection with the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA). 

“The said notification does not provide for any relaxations to the foreigners and applies only to foreigners who have entered the country legally as the Central government used its authority under Section 16 of the Citizenship Act and delegated its powers to grant citizenship by Registration or Naturalisation to District Collectors. It is submitted that it is merely an administrative delegation of power without any specific classification or relaxation,” the central government said in a counter-affidavit filed in the apex court.   

The counter affidavit was filed in response to an Intervention Application filed by the Indian Union Muslim League (IUML) against the notification issued by the Union Ministry of Home Affairs on May 28.   

In its counter-affidavit the Centre said that the impugned notification merely seeks to delegate power of the Central Government to the local authorities in particular cases. 

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The Centre has earlier stated that the Collectors of 13 districts from five States have been empowered to exercise the powers of the Central government under Section 5 for registration as a citizen of India or for grant of certificate of naturalisation under Section 6. 

In its counter-affidavit, the Centre further said that the said measure has been taken on numerous occasions previously and is largely a function of the administrative exigencies of the situation. It is submitted that the same would not be relatable to the legislative steps taken through the CAA which provide for a classification with a rational nexus and intelligible differentia. 

“The notification was issued only for those refugees who belonged to minority communities in Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan (Hindus, Christians, Jains, Buddhists and Parsis),” the Centre said. 

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