- Posted by Arpit Marwah
- On December 17, 2019
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- 2019, AMENDMENT ACT, Cabinet clears Citizenship Amendment Bill, CITIZENSHIP AMENDMENT ACT, CITIZENSHIP AMENDMENT ACT (CAA) 2019: A BRIEF OVERVIEW OF THE AMENDED ACT, Citizenship Amendment Act 2019, Citizenship Amendment Bill, What is (CAA) Citizenship Amendment Bill
The Citizenship Amendment Bill 2019 was passed by both the houses of Parliament and has received President’s assent on 12.12.2019 resulting into the establishment and promulgation of the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) 2019 which has already become a cause of protest all over India.
The Amended Act provides that: –
“any person belonging to Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, Parsi or Christian community from Afghanistan, Bangladesh or Pakistan, who entered into India on or before the 31st day of December, 2014 and who has been exempted by the Central Government by or under clause (c) of sub-section (2) of section 3 of the Passport (Entry into India) Act, 1920 or from the application of the provisions of the Foreigners Act, 1946 or any rule or order made there under, shall not be treated as illegal migrant for the purposes of this Act;”
Ever since the amended act was discussed in the Parliament, various groups have been opposing it on the grounds that it is unconstitutional as the act discriminates between people on basis of religion. However, the Central Government is of the opinion that no article of the constitution of India is being violated especially Article 14 of the constitution of India.
The Government of India relied on the following arguments when the Citizenship Amendment Bill (Now Citizenship Amendment Act, 2019) was introduced in both the houses of Parliament:-
- That the Hindus, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, Parsi or Christian are minorities in Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan. All the three countries i.e. Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan are Islamic Countries as the official religion of the three respective nations is Islam which is also embedded in their respective constitutions.
- India shares boundary with all the above three countries.
- Minority% has declined significantly in Pakistan and Bangladesh as the minority constituted about 23% in Pakistan in 1947 which has declined to 3.7% by 2011 and Bangladesh minority share was 22% in 1947 which has now declined to 7.8% in 2011. The decline in minority population is in itself a testimony of religious persecution meted out to the minorities in these countries.
- Those immigrants belonging to these 6 communities who have come to India on or before 31.12.2014 will be granted citizenship as the naturalization period for becoming a citizen has been reduced from 12 to 5 years. Further, Muslims who have come to India can also apply for the citizenship under the previous rules, there is absolutely no bar for Muslims to not get a citizenship of India under any rule.
(Example by the author of the article- Adnam Sami got citizenship of India, similarly other Muslims can also apply for the same and the same shall be decided by the Authorities as per the facts & circumstances of each case)
- The reason Muslims of three Islamic countries are not included in the present amended act is that the Muslims of these three countries cannot be discriminated on the basis of religion for a simple reason that the religion of the state of Pakistan/Bangladesh/Afghanistan is Islam and Muslims are followers of Islam. Therefore no Muslim can say that I have been discriminated for being a Muslim.
- Article 14 of Indian Constitution provides that a reasonable classification can be done by the State while making a law and prima facie it seems that the Government is on a solid plank and the amendment act will pass the constitutional test it may have to go through.
Groups opposing the Act are stating that Shias, Ahmedies are discriminated by the Sunnies in these three Islamic Nations, hence they shall also be included in the amendment act. However, the Act provides citizenship on basis of religious persecution and the alleged discrimination of Shias, Ahmedies in 3 Islamic Countries is at best a sectarian discrimination, therefore they cannot be made part of the present legislation.
Harish Salve, a senior advocate in one the interviews has said that a legislation which deals with one evil does not have to deal with all the evils at the same time which also sums up the argument of the Govt. of India which is that the present amendment act is to deal with a particular problem and not with all the problems that may be facing our country.