The Centre does not maintain records of applications received under the Citizenship Amendment Act, the Union Ministry of Home Affairs has said in response to a Right to Information application, reported The Hindu on Tuesday.

The Citizenship Amendment Act provides a fast-track to Indian citizenship for refugees from six minority religious communities, except Muslims, from Bangladesh, Afghanistan and Pakistan, on the condition that they have lived in India for six years and have entered the country by December 31, 2014.

The Act was passed by Parliament in December 2019. Union Minister of Home Affairs Amit Shah had said then that “lakhs and crores” of people would benefit from the provision, according to The Hindu. Shah, however, did not explained how he had arrived at the numbers.

Trinamool Congress leader Derek O’Brien at the time had cited an Intelligence Bureau report stating that nearly 31,000 people would be the immediate beneficiaries of the Act.

Ajay Bose, a resident of Maharashtra’s Amravati, recently filed a Right to Information application seeking information about the total number of persons who have applied for citizenship under the Act after its rules were notified in March.

Responding to the query, the Ministry of Home Affairs said on April 15: “The records are not being maintained as desired by you because the Citizenship Act, 1955 and Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2019 and the rules made there under does (sic) not have the provision to maintain the records of citizenship application received.”

The Centre notified the rules under the Act on March 11. Following this, Shah said that the Narendra Modi-led government had “realised the promise of the makers of our constitution to the Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christians living in those countries”.

The notification of the law’s rules came despite the Act being widely criticised for disciminating against Muslims. The law had sparked massive protests across the country in 2019 and 2020.

Indian Muslims fear that the law could be used, along with the nationwide National Register of Citizens, to harass and disenfranchise them. The National Register of Citizens is a proposed exercise to identify undocumented immigrants.

While protests against the Act in the rest of India revolved around the law’s alleged anti-Muslim bias, ethnic groups in the northeastern states feared they would be physically and culturally swamped by migrants from Bangladesh as a result of the law.

Also read: View from the margins: How a Mumbai realtor is helping NRC-scared Muslims rectify their documents