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Citizenship Amendment Act, 2019

-Mohamed Sultan Maricar

What is Citizenship?

Citizenship characterizes the connection between the country and the individuals who comprise the country. It gives upon an individual certain privilege, for example, assurance by the state, option to cast a ballot and option to hold certain open workplaces, among others, as a byproduct of the satisfaction of specific obligations/commitments owed by the person to the state.

Citizenship in India

The Constitution of India accommodates single citizenship for the entire of India. Under Article 11 of the Indian Constitution, Parliament has the ability to direct the privilege of citizenship by law. In like manner, the parliament had passed the Citizenship demonstration of 1955 to accommodate the procurement and assurance of Indian Citizenship. Section 17, List 1 under the Seventh Schedule talks about Citizenship, naturalization and outsiders.

In this manner, Parliament has the selective capacity to administer as for citizenship. Until 1987, to be qualified for Indian citizenship, it was adequate for an individual to be conceived in India. At that point, prodded by the populist developments claiming enormous unlawful movements from Bangladesh, citizenship laws were first changed to also require that in any event one parent ought to be Indian. In 2004, the law was additionally corrected to endorse that one parent be Indian; however the other ought not be an unlawful worker.

Who is an illegal transient in India?

Under the Act, an illicit transient is an outsider who:

  • Enters the nation without legitimate travel reports like an identification and visa, or

  • Enters with legitimate reports, yet remains past the allowed timeframe.

  • Illicit transients might be placed in prison or ousted under the Foreigners Act, 1946 and the Passport (Entry into India) Act, 1920.

The situation before the passing of the Act

Under the current laws, an illicit transient isn't qualified to apply for gaining citizenship. They are banned from turning into an Indian resident through enlistment or naturalization.

The Foreigners Act and the Passport Act suspend such an individual and accommodate placing an illicit vagrant into prison or expelling. An individual can turn into an Indian resident through enlistment. Section 5 of Citizenship demonstration of 1955: An individual of Indian starting point who is customarily inhabitant in India for a long time before making an application for enrollment; Under the Citizenship Act, 1955, one of the prerequisites for citizenship by naturalization is that the candidate probably dwelled in India during the most recent a year, just as for 11 of the past 14 years.

What the Act expects to do?

The Citizenship Amendment Act 2019 intends to make changes in the Citizenship Act, the Passport Act and the Foreigners Act if the illicit vagrants have a place with strict minority networks from three neighboring nations of Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan.

Basically, the Citizenship Amendment Act will give the illicit non-Muslim transients the status of lawful vagrants in spite of them having come to India without legitimate records and authorization.

Highlights of CAA 2019

  • The Act looks to alter the Citizenship Act, 1955 to make Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, Parsi, and Christian unlawful vagrants from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, and Pakistan, qualified for citizenship of India. At the end of the day, the Act means to make it simpler for non-Muslim migrants from India's three Muslim-dominant part neighbors to become residents of India.

  • The enactment applies to the individuals who were "constrained or constrained to look for cover in India because of abuse on the ground of religion". It expects to shield such individuals from procedures of illicit movement.

  • The correction loosens up the necessity of naturalization from 11 years to 5 years as a particular condition for candidates having a place with these six religions.

  • The cut-off date for citizenship is December 31, 2014, which implies the candidate ought to have entered India at the latest that date.

The Act says that on obtaining citizenship:

Such people will be esteemed to be residents of India from the date of their entrance into India, and Every single lawful continuing against them in regard to their illicit relocation or citizenship will be shut. It likewise says individuals holding Overseas Citizen of India (OCI) cards, a migration status allowing a remote resident of Indian beginning to live and work in India inconclusively can lose their status on the off chance that they damage neighborhood laws for major and minor offenses and infringement.

Special case

The Act includes that the arrangements for citizenship for unlawful vagrants won't make a difference to the inborn territories of Assam, Meghalaya, Mizoram, and Tripura, as remembered for the Sixth Schedule of the Constitution. These innate territories incorporate Karbi Anglong (in Assam), Garo Hills (in Meghalaya), Chakma District (in Mizoram), and Tripura Tribal Areas District. It will likewise not matter to the territories under the Inner Line Permit under the Bengal Eastern Frontier Regulation, 1873.

Arguments in Favour of CAA :

  • The Ahmediyas and Rohingyas can still seek Indian citizenship through naturalization

  • Citizenship Amendment Act does not dilute the sanctity of the Assam Accord as far as the cut-off date of March 24, 1971, stipulated for the detection/deportation of illegal immigrants is concerned.In any case, since India follows the principle of non-refoulment (even without acceding to the Refugee Convention 1951), they would not be pushed back.

  • If a Shia Muslim is facing persecution and is in India seeking shelter, his case to continue to reside in India as a refugee shall be considered on its merits and circumstances. With regard to Balochi refugees, Balochistan has long struggled to be independent of Pakistan and including Balochis in the CAA could be perceived as interference in Pakistan’s internal affairs.

  • The CAA, therefore, does not exclude Muslims from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan to apply for Indian citizenship. They can continue to do so in the same way singer Adnan Sami, for example, applied for citizenship. It is important to note that even minorities shall not be granted automatic citizenship. They would need to fulfill conditions specified in the Third Schedule to the Citizenship Act, 1955, namely, the good character requirement as well as physical residence in India

  • in Louis De Raedt vs. Union of India (1991), the Supreme Court held that the right of a foreigner in India is confined to Article 21 and he cannot seek citizenship as a matter of right.

Criticism :

  • The fundamental criticism of the Act has been that it specifically targets Muslims. Thus, the religious basis of citizenship not only violates the principles of secularism but also of liberalism, equality and justice. Critics argue that it is violative of Article 14 of the Constitution, which guarantees the right to equality.

  • In the Northeastern states, the prospect of citizenship for massive numbers of illegal Bangladeshi migrants has triggered deep anxieties, including fears of demographic change, loss of livelihood opportunities, and erosion of the indigenous culture. CAA does not consider Jews and atheists. They have been left out of the Act.

  • The basis of clubbing Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Bangladesh together and thereby excluding other (neighbouring) countries is unclear. There is a view that illegal immigrants, who will eventually become legitimate citizens, will be determining the political future of the state

  • The CAA is in the teeth of Article 14, which not only demands reasonable classification and a rational and just object to be achieved for any classification to be valid but additionally requires every such classification to be non-arbitrary. There is also a reduction in the residential requirement for naturalization — from 11 years to five. The reasons for the chosen time frame has not been stated.

  • Religious persecution is a grave problem but political persecution is also equally existent in parts of the world. If the intent is to protect victims of persecution, the logic to restrict it only to religious persecution is suspect.

Conclusion :

The parliament has unfractured powers to make laws for the country when it comes to Citizenship. But the opposition and other political parties allege this Act by the Government violates some of the basic features of the constitution like secularism and equality. It may reach the doors of the Supreme Court where the Supreme Court will be the final interpreter. If it violates the constitutional features and goes ultra-wires it will be struck down, if it is not we will continue to have the law.




  • CAA book by anwar


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