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Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2019

  • 10 Jan 2022
  • 4 min read

For Prelims: Committee on Subordinate Legislation, National Register of Citizens, Assam Accord of 1985

For Mains: Features and issues associated with Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2019

Why in News

Recently, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) missed the deadline of notifying rules under the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2019 (CAA).

  • Amidst the concerns related to CAA and for better clarity, the two parliamentary committees (committee on subordinate legislation) in the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha had sought MHA to frame the rules that will govern the CAA.
  • If the government does not make rules and regulations, a law or parts of it will not get implemented. The Benami Transactions Act of 1988 is an example of a complete law remaining unimplemented in the absence of regulations.

Committee on Subordinate Legislation

  • The Committee scrutinizes and reports to the House whether the powers to make regulations, rules, and sub-rules, by-laws etc. conferred by the Constitution or delegated by Parliament are being properly exercised by the executive within the scope of such delegation.
  • This committee exists in both houses.
  • It has 15 members.
  • A Minister is not nominated to this Committee.

Key Points

  • About CAA:
    • The CAA provides citizenship on the basis of religion to six undocumented non-Muslim communities (Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christians) from Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh who entered India on or before 31st December, 2014.
    • It exempts the members of the six communities from any criminal case under the Foreigners Act, 1946 and the Passport Act, 1920.
      • The two Acts specify punishment for entering the country illegally and staying here on expired visas and permits.
  • Associated Concerns with CAA:
    • Targeting a Particular Community: There are apprehensions that the CAA, followed by a country-wide compilation of the National Register of Citizens (NRC), will benefit non-Muslims excluded from the proposed citizens’ register, while excluded Muslims will have to prove their citizenship.
    • Issues in the North-East: It contradicts the Assam Accord of 1985, which states that illegal migrants, irrespective of religion, heading in from Bangladesh after 25th March, 1971, would be deported.
      • There are an estimated 20 million illegal Bangladeshi migrants in Assam and they have inalienably altered the demography of the state, besides putting a severe strain on the state’s resources and economy.
    • Against Fundamental Rights: Critics argue that it is violative of Article 14 of the Constitution (which guarantees the right to equality and is applicable to both the citizens and foreigners) and the principle of secularism enshrined in the preamble of the constitution.
    • Discriminatory in Nature: India has several other refugees that include Tamils from Sri Lanka and Hindu Rohingya from Myanmar. They are not covered under the Act.
    • Difficulty in Administration: It will be difficult for the government to differentiate between illegal migrants and those persecuted.
    • Hampering Bilateral Ties: The Act throws the light on the religious oppression that has happened and is happening in these three countries and thus, may worsen our bilateral ties with them.

Way Forward

  • India has been a rich civilization. Therefore it is a novel effort to protect those who are prosecuted in its neighborhood. However, the methods must be in accordance with the spirit of the Constitution.
  • Thus, MHA should notify the CAA rules with utmost transparency and clear the apprehensions associated with CAA.

Source: TH

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