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Indian Polity

Inner Line Permit and Citizenship Amendment Act

  • 04 Jun 2020
  • 4 min read

Why in News

Recently, the Supreme Court refused to stay the Adaptation of Laws (Amendment) Order, 2019, issued by the President to amend the Bengal Eastern Frontier Regulation (BEFR), 1873.

  • The court said it will have to hear what the government has to say on the matter.

Key Points

  • The Presidential order was challenged in the Supreme Court by Asom Jatiyatabadi Yuba Chatra Parishad (AJYCP) and All Tai Ahom Students’ Union (ATASU).
  • The petitioners claimed that the Presidential Order moved some of the districts of Assam away from the purview of BEFR just before the grant of assent to Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA), 2019.
    • The districts included Kamrup, Darrang, Nowgong, Sibsagar, Lakhimpur and Cachar.
    • BEFR empowers some of the states to bring districts under the inner line area.
  • Once the districts had come under ‘the inner line’ area, the CAA could not be implemented to the extent of granting citizenship to illegal immigrants in Assam in view of Section 6B (4) of the CAA.
    • Section 6B (4) of the CAA restricts the implementation of CAA to the tribal areas as included in the Sixth Schedule of the Constitution and the area covered under the “Inner Line” notified under the Bengal Eastern Frontier Regulation, l873”.
  • The CAA relaxes eligibility criteria for certain categories of migrants from three countries (Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan) seeking Indian citizenship and exempts certain categories of areas, including those protected by the Inner Line system.
  • The State government claims that ILP cannot be implemented in Assam since Assam is the gateway to northeast India.
    • Implementation of ILP will increase the unemployment level. It will affect the tea sector and oil sector.
  • According to the petitioner, BEFR could have been the answer to tackle the problems of illegal immigrants which Assam and its citizens are facing today.

Inner Line Permit

  • It is a concept based on the policy of exclusion drawn by colonial rulers in the form of Bengal Eastern Frontier Regulation Act (BEFR), 1873.
  • The BEFR prohibits an outsider’s — “British subject or foreign citizen” — entry into the area beyond the Inner Line without a pass and his purchase of land there.
    • It protected the commercial interests of the British from the tribal communities.
  • BEFR came as a response to the reckless expansion of British entrepreneurs into new lands which threatened British political relations with the hill tribes.
  • After Independence, the Indian government replaced “British subjects” with “Citizen of India”.
  • The Inner Line separates the tribal-populated hill areas in the Northeast from the plains. To enter and stay for any period in these areas, Indian citizens from other areas need an Inner Line Permit (ILP).
  • The main aim of ILP system is to prevent settlement of other Indian nationals in the States where ILP regime is prevalent, in order to protect the indigenous/tribal population.
  • The Adaptation of Laws (Amendment) Order, 2019 extended the ILP regime to Manipur – after Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland and Mizoram where the ILP regime is applicable.

Source: IE

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