On the 11th of December 2019, the Parliament of India passed the Citizenship Amendment Act 2019. The Bill modifies the Act to make sure that Hindus, Buddhists, Jains, Sikhs, Parsis, and Christians from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, and Pakistan who arrived in India on or before New Year’s Eve, 2014 are not considered unlawful migrants. They must even have been exempted from the Foreigners Act, 1946, and therefore the Passport (Entry into India) Act, 1920 by the central government so as to receive this benefit. If a person meets specific conditions, the Act allows them to apply for citizenship through registration or naturalization. Like if a human spends one year in India and any one of his parents is a former Indian citizen, he can register for citizenship and get naturalization the requirement is that the applicant must have lived in India or worked for the Indian government for at least 11 years prior to seeking for citizenship.
In terms of this condition, the Bill makes an exception for Hindus, Buddhists, Jains, Sikhs, Parsis, and Christians from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, and Pakistan. The 11-year threshold will be shortened to five years for these individuals. When attaining citizenship, such persons will be considered Indian citizens from the day of their admission into India, and all legal procedures will apply to them. These citizenship rights for illegal migrants wouldn’t apply to the tribal territories of Assam, Meghalaya, Mizoram, and Tripura, which are listed within the Constitution’s Sixth Schedule. Krabi Ang long, Garo Hills, Chakma District, and Tripura Tribal Places District are among these tribal areas. It will additionally not apply to the areas designated as “Inner Line” under the Bengal Eastern Frontier Regulation of 1873. Indian visitors are regulated in certain areas by the Inner Line Permit. This permit system is currently in use in Arunachal Pradesh, Mizoram, and Nagaland. The Inner Line Permit has also been extended to Manipur. It goes against the 1985 Assam Accord, which specifies that each unlawful migrant coming back from Bangladesh after Annunciation, 1971, no matter faith, is going to be deported.
Critics further claim that this Amendment legislation will render the arduous work of updating the National Register of Citizens (NRC) null and void. Assam is home to an estimated 20 million undocumented Bangladeshi migrants and they have inalienably altered the demography of the administration have stated that because Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Bangladesh are Islamic republics with a majority of Muslims, they cannot be considered persecuted minorities. According to the administration, this bill aims to grant citizenship rather than take it away. It has stated that the government will consider any other community’s application on a case-by-case basis. Besides putting a severe strain on the state’s resources and economy.
The Supreme Court, as the Guardian of the Constitution, now has the task of interpreting the Act’s provisions and determining whether the “classification” made in the Act is “reasonable” or not when compared to Article 14. India owes it to the world’s civilization to safeguard individuals who are being prosecuted in its own backyard. The approaches, however, must be consistent with the spirit of the Constitution. Furthermore, the people of the North-East should be more constructively involved in order to persuade them that the region’s linguistic, cultural, and social identities would be preserved.
Disclaimer: This article is issued in general public interest and meant for general information purposes only. Readers are advised not to rely on the contents of the article as conclusive in nature and should research further or consult an expert in this regard.