Citizenship Amendment Act 2019

By : Neha Dhyani

Updated : Mar 25, 2022, 7:24

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. However, in this act, the 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. Its primary focus was on the realization of the amendment to the Citizenship Act to make provision for six religious minority communities to attain citizenship of India by 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.

Provisions of Citizenship Amendment Act

  1. According to the CCA, any person belonging to the communities of Hindu, Sikh, Jain, Buddhist, Parsi, or Christian, who have migrated to India from Afghanistan, Pakistan, or Bangladesh on or before 14th December 2014 will not fall into the category of illegal migrants as was mentioned in the Citizenship Act of 1955. All such migrants will have the provision to apply for and consequently gain Indian citizenship. Consequently, the smooth realization of this provision, such migrants will also be exempted from the Foreigners Act of 1946 and the Passport (Entry into India) Act of 1920. The CAA grants immunity to all such migrants, as explained above, from any legal cases that concern their immigration status.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
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Why is Citizenship Amendment Act Criticised?

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 the very crucial secular rights.

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 that 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.

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FAQs on Citizenship Amendment Act

Q.1. What is the current status of the Citizenship Amendment Act 2019?

Although the act was passed by both the Houses of Parliament, even after two years, it cannot be implemented as the Ministry of Home Affairs is yet to notify the rules governing the act.

Q.2. When was Citizenship Amendment Act Passed?

The Citizenship Amendment Act was passed in the Lok Sabha on 10th December 2019, and two days later, it also cleared the Rajya sabha following the Presidential assent.

Q.3. What is the new Citizenship Amendment Act in India?

The Citizenship Amendment Actfast-tracks citizenship of Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, Parsi and Christian immigrants from
Afghanistan, Pakistan and Bangladesh arrived in India before 2015.

Q.4. Who are Illegal Immigrants According to the Citizenship Act 1955?

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.

Q.5. How many times the Citizenship Act 1955 has been amended?

The Citizenship Act 1955 has been amended six times.