All of know the Modi government was able to pass the Citizenship Amendment Act, 2019 widely known as CAA. Multiple petitions have been filed in SC challenging the validity of CAA on constitutional grounds.
To recap what CAA is, the crux is as follows:
- For the Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhist, Jainas, Christians and parsis belonging to Afghanistan, Pakistan and Bangladesh who arrived in India on or before 31st Dec 2014 the citizenship will be granted irrespective of the fact whether they legally or illegally entered India.
- Under the act, one of the requirements for citizenship by naturalization is that the applicant must have lived in India during the last 12 months, and for 11 of the previous 14 years. The CAA relaxes this 11-year requirement to 5 years for persons belonging to the same six religions and three countries.
Once hearing starts in SC, I guess, the arguments will be on the following lines and I have put my views on how the government should defend it.
- The CAA, 2019 violates right to equality (Article 14, 15 of constitution): In the context of right to equality there are 2 terms: “intelligible differentia” and “rational nexus“. “intelligible differentia” and “rational nexus” mean that the differentiation should be logical and achieve the purpose what it intends . For e.g. a teacher sets different question papers for her 5th and 10th Class students. Is the right to equality violated- No. Does this achieve the purpose of checking the capability of 5th and 10th class students- Yes. There are trillions of reports of minorities like Hindu, Sikh, Christian persecuted in these countries and Govt will have no difficulty in proving that giving citizenship to these people will violate the right to equality as the aim of this legislation os to protect the rights of these “stateless” people.
- CAA, 2019 violates secularism (article 25, 26): The govt. can fight this argument with Article 29, 30(which provide rights to minorities inside India):- If Indian government is protecting and providing extra benefits to its own minorities, what is the harm if we provide some protection to “really” oppressed minorities of our neighbors? Then, I guess, petitioners wont toe this line further as Article 29, 30 may come in to trouble.
- Inclusivity-Why Muslims(and especially Ahmadiyas, Shias) are ruled out?: This can be easily defended by saying that Govt. has started off with this law, if there is change needed the govt. will consider it. When reservations for OBCs were given, it was not junked as reservation was not given for Economically weaker section of upper castes. In other words, Because you cannot feed the second guy now doesn’t mean you will stop the first guy from being fed.
- Why the date of 31st Dec 2014: The Govt. can defend this by saying that the same question arise for any other date and Govt. that’s why decided this to have this date.
Hence, based on above analysis, I don’t feel it would be that easy to challenge CAA and there seems no major ground that SC will strike down CAA, 2019.
Hence, in my opinion, CAA, 2019 is going to stay long and gloriously.
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