Twilight Citizenship

729 Seminar (May 2020)

4 Pages Posted: 11 Jun 2020

See all articles by M. Mohsin Alam Bhat

M. Mohsin Alam Bhat

Queen Mary University of London, School of Law; Yale Law School

Date Written: 2020


In the last three decades, the Indian state has created a multitude of legal norms for identifying foreigners in the state of Assam. The National Register of Citizens (NRC) published on 31 August 2019 states that more than 1.9 million persons now stand at the verge of statelessness. Assam’s Foreigners Tribunals have already declared more than 100,000 persons as foreigners. Thousands more await their fate as they attempt to establish their citizenship in these tribunals or in appeals to higher courts. The complex web of legality has made the status of numerous residents of the state precarious by subjecting them to arcane rules and procedures. The Indian state claims that these procedures filter the non-citizen from the citizen. But the scale of due process violation has made citizenship of many vulnerable to arbitrary official discretion. I argue there is more at stake. Beyond engendering precarious citizenship for the most vulnerable, it threatens to undo India’s citizenship altogether.

Keywords: Indian, Citizenship, Assam, Statelessness, Adjudication, Evidence, Legal Documents, Exception, Human Rights, Bureaucracy

Suggested Citation

Bhat, M. Mohsin Alam, Twilight Citizenship (2020). 729 Seminar (May 2020), Available at SSRN:

M. Mohsin Alam Bhat (Contact Author)

Queen Mary University of London, School of Law ( email )

Mile End Road
Lincoln's Inn Fields
London, London E1 4NS
United Kingdom

Yale Law School ( email )

P.O. Box 208215
New Haven, CT 06520-8215
United States

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