Is CAA against the spirit of the Indian Constitution? What are the social and economic ramifications?

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The Citizenship (Amendment) Act was passed by parliament on 11 December 2019. It amended the Citizenship Act of 1955. It is perhaps a first in independent India’s political history. The protest against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA), 2019 has spread to almost every corner of the country. According to the CAA, Hindu, Christian, Buddhist, Jain, Sikh and Parsi migrants who have entered India illegally-that is, without a visa-on or before December 31, 2014 from the Muslim-majority countries of Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh and have stayed in the country for five years, are eligible to apply for Indian citizenship.

Why is the provision extended only to people of six religions, and not Muslims, and why does it apply only to people coming from these three countries.? The Union government claims that people of these six faiths have faced persecution in these three Islamic countries, Muslim haven’t. It is, therefore, Indian’s moral obligation to provide them shelter. The provision is not open only to those who have been persecuted in the three countries. The CAA itself does not mention the word ‘prosecution’ anywhere, contrary to the BJP’s assertion that Act covers only persecuted people. And since persecution is not criterion, it does discriminate against illegal Muslim immigrants from these three countries.

If the act is not only about people facing persecution, why are migrants from other countries -- such as Hindus from Sri Lanka -- not eligible to apply for citizenship under this act.? Or Muslim (Rohingya) migrants from Myanmar.? The government says this is a time-bound provision to provide relief to immigrants who have suffered in Islamic countries because India got divided on religious lines. India has, from time to time, provided citizenship to immigrants of all religions from different countries. Sri Lankan Tamil Hindus, too, were given citizenship in the 1970s and 1980s. The Union government has openly said that the Rohingyas are a threat to national security. Even an Islamic country like Saudi Arabia has deported Rohingya migrants. The BJP’s logic is that Hindu migrants have only India to fall back on while Muslim migrants have several Islamic countries to seek shelter in. Yet others believe that while the CAA itself is innocuous, combined with the proposed nationwide National Register of Citizenship (NRC), an exercise that has run into controversy in Assam, it will become a tool to exclude the Muslim population of the country. That the Union government has been hit hard by the allegation is evident from fact that Prime Minister Narendra Modi has publicly contradicted home minister Amit Shah’s assertion that a nationwide NRC will be prepared by 2024.

Is it not unconstitutional and against India’s secular ethos to discriminate on religious lines.? Sixty-five writ petitions have been filed in the Supreme Court challenging legal validity of the CAA. The apex court has asked the Union government to respond by the second week of January. Constitutional expert Subhash Kashyap says there are arguments both in favour of and against Act. “Article 14 says that all persons are entitled to equality, but there have been several Supreme Court judgments which say that reasonable classification can be applied to this principle of equality. Even all fundamental rights are subject to reasonable classification. Anyone can challenge the act in the apex court and future of Act will depend on whether the Supreme Court accepts classification made within this Act as reasonable enough”, he says.

From above all discussion, I came to the conclusion that this Amended new Act which is known as the Citizenship Amendment Act 2019. This Act play vital role for Indian Citizen and Non-Citizen to be residing at various countries like Pakistan, Bangladesh, Afghanistan certain right are given to this people (this all are minority people). In other words it is stated that certain religion were inserted in this Act. E.g.- Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, Parsis, Christian. The reason behind this insertion is to protect them from the violence which is committed by different governments and peoples of Pakistan, Bangladesh, Afghanistan. Today the certain test is going on in India. Which is not good and healthy for “Democratic India” because without having clear transparent idea about all this provision protest is not good. It also disturbs the law, order, peace and it move the anti-social element. Through this discussion, I want to show some provision and data as follows. The Amendment also relaxed the residence requirement for the neutralization of these migrants from 11 year to 5 years. Immediate beneficiaries of Bill, according to  Intelligence Bureau of India, will be 31,313 refugees, 25,447 Hindus, 5,807 Sikh, 55 Christian, 2 Buddhist and 2 Parsis.

-SAMPADA PULKESHI SANGA