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CAA and Status of Judicial Proceedings UPSC NOTE

 How have the newly notified rules eased the process of granting 

Indian citizenship to specific communities under the CAA?

  • In December 2019, Parliament passed an amendment to The Citizenship Act, 1955 (1955 Act) introducing a new proviso to Section 2(1)(b) which defines “illegal migrants.” 

  • Accordingly, undocumented immigrants who entered India on or before December 31, 2014, and whom the Central government has exempted under the Passport (Entry into India) Act, 1920, or the Foreigners Act, 1946, would be eligible for citizenship under the 1955 Act.

  • However, certain tribal areas in Assam, Meghalaya, Mizoram, and Tripura were exempted from the legislation’s ambit. 

  • To access these protected areas, an Inner Line Permit (ILP) is needed from the concerned State governments.

  • A key concern is that when viewed in combination with the proposed all-India National Register of Indian Citizens (NRIC), the CAA has the potential to disproportionately impact Muslims residing in India. 

  • In the event of people being excluded from NRIC, non-Muslims may have an opportunity to get included through the CAA.

  • While it may be denied to Muslims. 

  • A Supreme Court-monitored National Register of Citizens that took place in Assam in 2021 left out over 19 lakh people from the citizenship register.

  • On May 28, 2021, the Union government issued an order under Section 16 of the 1955 Act, granting District Collectors in five States with high migrant populations the power to grant citizenship to groups identified in the 2019 amendment. 

  • In its 2021-22 Annual Report, the MHA stated that in 2021, 1,414 citizenship certificates were granted under CAA provisions

  • However, after petitions were filed alleging that this order was a “ruse” to implement CAA, the MHA contended before the court that its order had “no relation whatsoever”with the CAA and that it merely delegated “the power (of granting citizenship by registration and naturalisation) to the local authorities in particular cases.”

  • With the newly notified rules, the Centre has eased the process of granting Indian citizenship to members of the specified communities by excluding the requirement of a “valid passport” of their origin countries or a valid visa from India

  • Additionally, a certificate issued by an elected member of a local body can be a replacement for a visa.

  • After the legislation’s enactment in 2019, the Indian Union Muslim League (IUML) filed a petition challenging its constitutionality, which was joined by close to 200 petitions. 

  • These petitions challenge the law for violating Article 14 of the Constitution by making religion a qualifier for citizenship.

  • The CAA has also been dubbed as a move to subvert the Assam Accord of 1985 that deems any person who cannot prove his ancestry beyond March 24, 1971, as an alien and does not differentiate on grounds of religion. 

  • The petitions contend that the law will further multiply the “uncontrolled influx of illegal migrants from Bangladesh to Assam.”

What arguments have been presented for challenging its constitutionality?

  • The IUML and others have moved the top court seeking a stay on the rules notified on March 11.

  • They have pointed out how the Centre had earlier averted a push for a stay of the CAA in the Supreme Court nearly five years ago byarguing that the rules had not been framed. 

  • It has also been highlighted that the rules have done away with the tiered scrutiny of applications for citizenship by District Collectors on the ground.

  • Recommendations of State governments as to the wisdom of granting citizenship.

  • They said that the government ought to have waited for a final decision from the Supreme Court before implementing the rules.

What is the significance of the government’s assertion that the CAA does not affect legal, democratic, or secular rights?

  • The proceedings against the CAA are also dependent on the outcome of the challenge to Section 6A of the 1955 Act.

  • This was introduced in furtherance of a Memorandum of Settlement called the “Assam Accord” signed on August 15, 1985.

  • In December last year, a five-judge Constitution Bench led by CJI D.Y. Chandrachud reserved its verdict on the validity of Section 6A.

  • This orally observing that the provision was enacted as a humanitarian measure in the wake of the 1971 Bangladesh Liberation War and was deeply interwoven in the country’s history.

  • Section 6A determines who is a foreigner in Assam by establishing March 24, 1971, as the cut-off date for entry.

  • Those who came to the State on or after January 1, 1966, but before March 25, 1971, were to be declared as “foreigners” and would have all the

rights and obligations of Indian citizens except that they would not be able to vote for 10 years.

  • If March 24, 1971, is upheld as a valid cut-off date for entry into the State, then CAA can be held to be violative of the Assam Accord since it establishes a different timeline.

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Learnerz IAS | Concept oriented UPSC Classes in Malayalam: CAA and Status of Judicial Proceedings UPSC NOTE
CAA and Status of Judicial Proceedings UPSC NOTE
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