Arbitrariness, Subordination and Unequal Citizenship

Indian Law Review (forthcoming)

17 Pages Posted: 30 Jan 2020 Last revised: 13 May 2020

See all articles by Farrah Ahmed

Farrah Ahmed

University of Melbourne - Law School

Date Written: January 7, 2020


The Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2019 is unconstitutional for a range of reasons including unlawful discrimination on the grounds of religion and origin, breach of constitutional protections of equal religious freedom and inconsistency with the secular commitments of the constitutional settlement. This paper will argue that the Act is unconstitutional for further, equally significant, reasons. The equality provisions of the Constitution, particularly Article 14, proscribe legislation that is arbitrary as well as legislation that subordinates. The Citizenship (Amendment Act) 2019 is unconstitutional because it is arbitrary and subordinating. The tests for arbitrariness and subordination are currently unclear. So after offering some background to the Act, this paper articulates a test for arbitrariness and subordination, and demonstrates how the Act is unconstitutional when measured against these tests.

Keywords: Citizenship Amendment Act; Article 14 Constitution; Manifest Arbitrariness; Subordination; Second-Class Citizenship; Religious Discrimination; Secularism; NRC; National Register of Citizens; Inequality

Suggested Citation

Ahmed, Farrah, Arbitrariness, Subordination and Unequal Citizenship (January 7, 2020). Indian Law Review (forthcoming), Available at SSRN: or

Farrah Ahmed (Contact Author)

University of Melbourne - Law School ( email )

University Square
185 Pelham Street, Carlton
Victoria, Victoria 3010


Here is the Coronavirus
related research on SSRN

Paper statistics

Abstract Views
PlumX Metrics