What is Citizenship Amendment Act?

[email protected], 02 Jan, 2020
  • The Citizenship Amendment Bill became an Act on December 12, 2019 with President’s assent.
  • This Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) amends the Citizenship Act 1955.

What the CAA 2019  say? 

The following provision will be added in the Citizenship Act 1955 under section 2, in sub-section (1), in clause (b).

“Provided that any person belonging to Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, Parsi or Christian community from Afghanistan, Bangladesh or Pakistan, who entered into India on or before the 31st day of December, 2014 and who has been exempted by the Central Government by or under clause (c) of sub-section (2) of section 3 of the Passport (Entry into India) Act, 1920 or from the application of the provisions of the Foreigners Act, 1946 or any rule or order made thereunder, shall not be treated as illegal migrant for the purposes of this Act,” according to Gazette of India.

This means: People who came from Afghanistan, Bangladesh or Pakistan belonging to Hindu, Sikh, Buddist, Jain, Parsi or Christian community before 31st, December 2014, will not be treated as illegal migrant. They will be granted citizenship of India.

Another provision will be added in the Third Schedule to the Citizenship Act f 1955, in clause (d), that is :— “Provided that for the person belonging to Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, Parsi or Christian community in Afghanistan, Bangladesh or Pakistan, the aggregate period of residence or service of Government in India as required under this clause shall be read as “not less than five years” in place of “not less than eleven years”.

This means: According to CAA 2019, a person entering India belonging to Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, Parsi or Christian community in Afghanistan, Bangladesh or Pakistan, must have resided for a period of less than 5 years to get citizenship. This new act has reduced the period of stay from 11 years to 5 years.

Why the protest?

In the CAA 2019, excludes muslims who came to India around the same time. The central government asserts that, in the three muslim countries, people belonging to other above mentioned religion are persecuted. Hence, India will expedite the process of providing citizenship for them. However, the CAA 2019 document does not mention the word ‘ religious persecution’ anywhere.

Protestors are demanding that everyone should be treated equally. The CAA is against the spirit of the Indian Constitution which upholds right to equality and secularism.


Vocabulary

Amendment: A minor change or addition designed to improve a text, piece of legislation, etc

Secularism: The principle of separation of the state from religious institutions. Government is independent of any religion.

Persecution: Hostility and ill-treatment, especially because of race or political or religious beliefs; oppression.

Aggregate: Combining several separate elements

Migrant: A person who moves from one place to another, especially in order to find work or better living conditions.

 

 

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