Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), 2019

By Shubhra Anand Jain|Updated : September 15th, 2022

Citizenship Amendment Act 2019 was passed on 10 December 2019 in Lok Sabha, and in Rajya Sabha passed it by 11 December 2019. Citizenship defines the relationship of a citizen with the nation in which they live, serve, and share responsibility.

The Citizenship Amendment Act 2019, was passed to amend the Citizenship Act 1955 by the Parliament of India. The Citizenship Act of 1955 includes regulations on who can become a citizen of India and under what grounds.

Table of Content

What is Citizenship?

Citizenship allows citizens to enjoy their rights and bestows their duties, a citizen must follow some rules and regulations and fulfil all their duties as a citizen of the country.

Citizenship In India

According to our constitution, citizenship is provided to citizens born in India. And parliament has complete control over maintaining the citizenship of any individual; according to article 11 of the constitution, a nation can refuse to provide rights or even nullify the citizenship of any person if they find anyone misusing it,

Eligibility criteria for citizenship

  1. The person should be born in India to be applicable for citizenship
  2. Although after the amendment, rights changed in the law of eligibility that a citizen whose one parent is Indian can get citizenship.
  3. After the further amendment in 2004, any citizen whose parents are not illegal immigrants is eligible for citizenship.

Citizenship Amendment Bill 2019

In Citizenship Act of1955, illegal migrants were prohibited from acquiring Indian citizenship. But in 2014, the Bharatiya Janta Party's primary election plan was to grant citizenship rights to Non-Muslim Immigrants from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, and Pakistan who were forced or compelled to seek shelter in India due to persecution on the ground of religion.

Thus, In 2016, a bill was introduced to amend the Citizenship Act 1955. The primary focus of the Citizenship Amendment Bill 2019 was on the realization of the amendment to the Citizenship Act to make provision for six religious minority communities to attain citizenship in India through the naturalization process. The six communities who will be granted the provision are Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jain, Parsi, and Christians from Pakistan, Bangladesh, or Afghanisthan on or before 31st December 2014.

Citizenship Amendment Act 2019

Citizenship amendment act was introduced in India on 11 December 2019, which provide citizenship right to people who belong to six religion ( Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, partisan, Christian, And Hindu), who are illegally migrated to India from Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Bangladesh till 31 December 2014.

  • CAA 2019 will exempt all these people from any illegal case due to illegal immigration under the foreign and passport act, which has provisions to punish illegal immigrant.
  • Foreign and passport act specifies the punishment for an illegal immigrant who illegally migrated.

According to CAA 2019, people will be considered citizens of India from the date they enter India and not will consider criminals according to their foreign and passports act.

  • It is important to note that, the CAA 2019 does not apply to people living in tribal areas like Meghalaya and Tripura or other tribal or backward areas.
  • The CAA also reduces the qualifying length of the residency phase in the country from for all such migrants as covered in the ACT not less than 11 years to not less than five years.
  • The CAA also has the provision whereby the government can cancel the Overseas Citizen of India card of individuals on the grounds of violation of any laws for a major or minor offence.

Before The Citizenship Amendment Act 2019

Illegal migrants are not all allowed to apply for citizenship in India; they are considered illegal immigrants till their death. Due to the introduction of the foreign and passport act, illegal immigrants have to face serious circumstances after committing the crime of illegally migrating to the country.

Who are illegal immigrants?

Illegal immigrants are people who have entered the country without a visa, passport, or permission. A person who lives in the country with an expired visa or permission is also an illegal immigrant.

According to the foreign and passport acts, such illegal immigrants residing in the country are deported or punished for such offences.

Criticism of Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA)

In the words of opponents, CAA is exclusionary and violates Article 14 of the Constitution of India. The Constitution of India prohibits any religious discrimination and guarantees equality before the law for all. And it also violated the principle of secularism as enshrined in the Preamble. By dividing the Muslim migrants from Non-Muslim migrants while protecting the interest of the latter, this Citizenship Act is causing a violation of very crucial secular rights.

  • The Citizenship amendment act does not apply to all religions; especially it does not include Muslims; Muslims are excluded from this act, which again makes them forced to prove their citizenship.
  • Also, there are other refugees in India, like Tamils in Sri Lanka and Rohingya in Myanmar, but the act does not pertain to them. According to critics, one's faith cannot be one's criterion for citizenship, and this act is doing just the same. And in the light of the National Register of Citizens, as witnessed in Assam, CAA will act as a protection for Non-Muslim migrants. At the same time, the Muslims will have to face the consequences of exclusion from the NRC which may lead to statelessness, deportation or prolonged detention.
  • Anti-CAB Protests in the Northeast result from the fear that the bill will change the demography of the states. The bill exempts part of North East from its provisions: Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland, Mizoram, Meghalaya, and parts of Assam and Tripura.

This act formed the conflict between the centre and the northeast government. The Assam accord 1955 states that illegal immigrants should be punished and deported to their countries, but that act is challenging this.

Northeast is also concerned about the population issues because illegal immigrants had affected the country's demographic population and the availability of resources to the indigenous people.

Economy: This also affects the northeast state's economy because a population surge means more land and job demand, which will affect the economic resources available for indigenous people.

Political View of CAA 2019

The increase in the immigrant population as the citizen of the country will surge them into the political way, or they could also lead the highest political seat. This makes the country fear dominance from other religions.

This act excludes many other religions which are part of India and are a minority, which outrages this community Like Jews, aestheticists, and Muslims.

This act will also make it difficult for the government to differentiate between illegal and legal migrants.

According to many people, this act has also violated article 14, which guarantees the right to equality to every citizen without discrimination based on caste, religion, and sex. And according to this act, the citizen is given rights according to their religion, which puts the question on government governance.

Effects Of CAA On India's Bilateral Relations

As this acts excludes many religion, the same way the act also excluded many countries from these benefits with whom India has great bilateral relation, and this act can affect their relationship with the country.

India tries to defend itself by saying that Afghanistan, Bangladesh, and Pakistan are religious states, which constitute the major minorities in India, so it is important to protect them.

This act provides support and helps those who are religious and forced to leave their hometowns due to fear and against their will and forced to live in other countries as illegal criminals.

Claims Support Citizenship Amendment Act 2019

  1. According to the Central government, this act is not excluding any communities; it is just that they are giving extra benefits to others; otherwise, other communities like Jews and Muslims have full rights to apply for citizenship through traditional methods of naturalization like earlier.
  2. Every Muslim is allowed to apply for their citizenship like it was earlier, and they will not be exempted from this right; if all documents are correct, then they are eligible for citizenship.
  3. Even people covered under that act must complete all the procedures and document work to become applicable for citizenship.
  4. Harish savand, one of the biggest names in national and international law, also said that action is not anti-Muslim.

CAA Not violating Article 14

According to an article in the constitution, the government has the full power to refuse any citizen's citizenship rights, and it cannot relate to article 14

No illegal immigrant is allowed to ask for citizenship right as the right; it is the choice of the country whether they want to give citizenship or not to immigrants.

For Northeast: The citizenship amendment act does not challenge the Assam accord, as the state can still practice the provision of the Assam accord to deport and punish illegal immigrants.

This act is not for Assam, it is for the whole world and the northeast to accept it. This is not against the national registration of citizens, which promises to differentiate indigenous people from illegal immigrants.

Scope Of Citizenship Amendment Act 2019

India has a diverse culture, which is diverse and constitutes of minority and majority. There are many chances that the majority might dominate the majority. Hence, it is the best way to protect the right of such minorities who migrated from foreign countries so that they can ask for their right from the government in case of violation.

Two joint committees in parliament minister of a home affair, given the responsibility to build the provision under the citizenship amendment act, can clarify the act clearly.

The provision also helps to implement the act with ease. But the Ministry of Home minister had missed the deadline to present the provision assigned to them in front of parliament.

Purpose Of Committee

This committee is constituted by members of 15, and its main purpose is to examine whether the plan, policies, and regulations planned accordingly are implemented or not.

Many people are still not convinced that the law is justified for all, although the government is working hard to prove their decisions right; after listening to all sections of the society, This act will provide citizenship rights to the community of three regions, which can claim their rights even if they are a foreigner. This act will give a sense of security to the citizen who is often marginalized and deprived because of their identity as illegal immigrant. They can lead a happy life with dignity.

Citizenship Amendment Act 2019 UPSC

Citizenship amendment act 2019 UPSC is an important topic from the political science subject; the topic is very crucial for UPSC prelims, mains, and interview process; UPSC aspirants need to focus on the detail of this topic as per the UPSC syllabus and keep an account related current affairs for excellent preparation.

Download Citizenship Amendment Act 2019 UPSC Notes PDF

Citizenship Amendment Act UPSC Sample Questions

Question: In which part of the constitution we can find provisions related to citizenship?

  1. Part 1
  2. Part 2
  3. Part 11
  4. Part 6

Answer: B

Other Important UPSC Notes
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International Labour Organization (ILO) Fiscal Deficit
Salient Features of Indian ConstitutionKothari Commission
EWS CriteriaSources of Indian Constitution
Industrial PolicyStatutory Body
Indian Army Rank in WorldIPC Sections List


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FAQs on Citizenship Amendment Act

  • Citizenship amendment act 2019 gives citizenship to illegal immigrants who are migrated from Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Bangladesh, especially to 6 communities (Sikh, Buddhist, Hindu, Jain, Parsis, and Christian ). after this act, they will be considered a citizen of India just like another Indian origin citizen.

  • Yes, the NRC national registration of India is passed in India, which registers every Indian citizen legally to differentiate them from illegal immigrants; this registration is fully a legal way to register Indian citizens to provide them with rights and distinguishes them from immigrants. This bill was enacted especially in Assam, where they are keeping records of all indigenous candidates. 

  • The citizenship amendment act has been amended 5 times, in 1986, 1992,2003, 2005, and 2015). It was amended twice under the BJP-led government and three times under the congress-led government.

  • Citizenship amendment act is very important for giving equal rights to migrants who have illegally entered India due to different circumstances, which make them deprived, less empowered, and feel inferior to others, affecting their quality of life. After this act finally, they will be eligible to live in India.

  • The citizenship act, which gives citizenship rights to migrants from Bangladesh, Afghanistan, and Pakistan to non-Muslim illegal migrants, was enacted on 11 December 2019, which is yet to enact because the right under the act is not yet framed, so it is still in delay and not come into action, as a ministry of the home minister, was given this responsibility which they fail to comply. So present state of the act is not in action in present.

  • Anyone who enters the Indian territory with forged documents does not have a valid passport or stays beyond the visa permit is an illegal immigrant as per the Citizenship Act 1955.

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