Future of Citizenship Laws in India With Special Reference to Implementation of NRC in Assam
Journal of Legal Studies and Research, Volume 6 Issue 4 – August 2020, ISSN: 2455-2437
10 Pages Posted: 15 Sep 2020
Date Written: July 31, 2020
The issue of citizenship in India, in contemporary times, is one of the most debated issues in the country. This controversy is centered on the Citizenship Amendment Act 2019 (hereinafter CAA 2019), coupled with the National Population of Register (hereinafter NPR) and National Register of Citizen (hereinafter NRC), which have to be viewed together. The genesis of this debate came with the enactment of the CAA 2019, which aims to confer citizenship to illegal migrants of certain neighboring countries on the basis of religion. The migrants of two religious’ communities, that are Muslim and Jews, stand excluded from the Act. It is also pertinent to note that the CAA 2019 was enacted in the backdrop of the Supreme Court monitoring the NRC exercise in the state of Assam. The NRC case itself had proven to display serious socio-political problem and grave concerns nationwide by excluding over 19 lac persons belonging to various faiths, rendering them “stateless”. These excluded persons range from the family members of a former President of India to those individuals who had fled religious persecution from neighboring countries. The Government, in response to the concerns, has rejected any claims that the CAA 2019 is meant to exclude any particular community, rather has justified the need for such an enactment stating that it is only a mode for granting citizenship rights to certain persecuted minorities and it does not in any way take away citizenship of any person. Curiously, the Act does not mention the term ‘persecuted’ or ‘persecution’, therefore it cannot be read as being a criterion for granting citizenship. So how does the CAA 2019 take a religious color? The Act by creating an easier path for all non-Muslim immigrants from adjoining countries to attain citizenship leaves practitioners of Islam unfairly disadvantaged when seeking to immigrate to India. The benefit to persecuted minorities within the Act only extends to Muslim neighboring countries. This is where the debate has largely taken place, especially considering that India already has a large number of refugees, for example Tibetan refugees from China, Rohingya Muslims from Myanmar, and Tamil Hindus from Sri Lanka, all of who have been inexplicably excluded.
Keywords: Citizenship, India, NRC, CAA, National; Register of Citizen, National Population of Register, Citizenship Amendment Act 2019, Indian Muslims, Minority Rights and Citizenship Laws in India
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