The Union Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has defended before the Supreme Court, its May 28 notification which empowered thirteen districts across three States to grant citizenship to non-Muslim minorities from Afghanistan, Pakistan and Bangladesh (Indian Union Muslim League v. Union of India). .In an affidavit filed in response to a place by Indian Union Muslim League (IUML), the MHA stated that May 28 notification has no relation whatsoever with the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) but is a "mere delegation of power vested with the Central Government.""It is submitted that the notification dated 28 May 2021 seeks to merely delegate the power of the Central Government to the local authorities in particular cases. The said notification does not provide for any relaxations to the foreigners and applies only to foreigner 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," the MHA submitted. .The Indian Union Muslim League (IUML), the first petitioner to have challenged the Citizenship Amendment Act, 2019 (CAA) in the Supreme Court, had moved the top court earlier this month seeking a stay on the May 28 order of Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA). .In 2016, 16 district collectors were given the power to accept citizenship applications under Sections 5 and 6 of the Citizenship Act of 1955.The latest order granted the same power to 13 more districts of Gujarat, Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh, Haryana and Punjab, taking the total districts to 29..“In exercise of powers conferred under Section 16 of the Citizenship Act, 1955 (57 of 1955), the central government hereby directs that powers exercisable by it for registration as citizen of India under Section 5, or for grant of certificate of naturalisation under section 6 of the Citizenship Act 1955 in respect of any person belonging to minority community in Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan namely, Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christians, residing in the districts mentioned and the states mentioned below," the May 28 MHA notification said..IUML filed an application in the pending CAA case, registering objection to the said notification on the ground that the provisions of Citizenship Act cited do not permit the classification of applicants on the basis of religion..Section 5 (1)(a)-(g) of the Citizenship Act lays down the persons who are eligible to apply for citizenship by registration whereas Section 6 of the Act permits any person (not being an illegal migrant) to apply for citizenship by naturalisation."Therefore, the attempt being made by the Respondent Union in whittling down the applicability of the two provisions through an executive order is illegal," the IUML's application drawn by advocate Haris Beeran and filed through advocate Pallavi Pratap had said. .The MHA has now told the apex court that the May 28 notification is unrelated to CAA. .BREAKING: IUML moves Supreme Court to stay MHA order allowing citizenship grant to non-Muslim minorities from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Pakistan.MHA further pointed out that similar delegation of power had been permitted by Central Government in 2004, 2005, 2006, 2016 and 2018."It is submitted that the notification dated May 28, 2021 does not relate to the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2019 (CAA) which has been inserted into the Act as section 6B," the MHA affidavit underscored.