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Citizenship Amendment Act: What You Need to Know about CAA 2024

Citizenship Amendment Act 2024

Government Sector,CAA,Citizenship

Mar 12, 2024

In December 2019, India witnessed significant uproar and debates surrounding the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), a legislation that sparked nationwide discussions, protests, and political polarization. The CAA is a complex piece of legislation that seeks to amend the Citizenship Act of 1955, with the aim of providing citizenship to specific religious minorities from neighbouring countries. However, the act has been met with both support and criticism, with various stakeholders expressing differing opinions on its implications. In this blog, we'll delve into the key aspects of the Citizenship Amendment Act, exploring its objectives, controversies, and broader implications.


Understanding the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA)

The Citizenship Amendment Act offers citizenship to religious minorities—specifically Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis, and Christians—who have faced persecution in Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Afghanistan. Notably, Muslims are not included in this provision, which has been a focal point of contention and criticism. The act reduces the eligibility period for acquiring Indian citizenship through naturalization from 11 years to 5 years for these specified communities.


Objectives of the Citizenship Amendment Act

Proponents of the CAA argue that it upholds the humanitarian principle of providing refuge to persecuted minorities. They assert that religious minorities in these countries face discrimination and persecution on the basis of their faith, making it imperative for India to extend its support and protection to them. Additionally, proponents claim that the act aligns with India's historical and cultural ties with these communities, emphasizing the need for preserving their cultural identities.


Citizenship Amendment Act 2024

Controversies and Criticisms

The Citizenship Amendment Act has been met with widespread criticism and opposition, both within India and internationally. One of the primary concerns revolves around the exclusion of Muslims from the purview of the act, which critics argue is discriminatory and violates the secular principles enshrined in the Indian Constitution. Critics contend that by explicitly excluding Muslims, the CAA undermines the secular fabric of India and promotes a discriminatory agenda.


Furthermore, opponents raise concerns about the potential repercussions of the act on India's secular ethos and social harmony. They argue that by prioritizing citizenship on the basis of religion, the CAA fosters division and communalism, eroding the principles of equality and inclusivity. Additionally, critics caution that the act could exacerbate tensions between religious communities and lead to further marginalization of Muslims in the country.


Bringing The Law Into Enforcement After Four Years

Union Home Minister Amit Shah had hinted during a rally in Kolkata last month that the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) would be implemented with rules to follow, and that the process to confer Indian nationality to the beneficiaries would begin shortly after. The Home Minister further stated that he would to clarify that no one's citizenship is being taken away by the CAA.

Finally on 11th March 2024, the ministry clarified the laws and implemented the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA 2024)


The Modi government will now begin awarding Indian nationality to persecuted non-Muslim migrants—Hindus, Sikhs, Jains, Buddhists, Parsis, and Christians—from the three nations in light of the CAA regulations. The submission of applications will take place entirely online using a web platform. The immigrants would not be asked for any additional documents apart from the year in which they moved to India


Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, Parsi, and Christian religious minorities who fled the neighbouring Muslim-majority countries of Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Afghanistan before December 2014 because of religious persecution or fear of religious persecution are now eligible for Indian citizenship under the 2019 Citizenship by Association Act (CAA), which amended the Citizenship Act of 1955.


Citizenship Amendment Act 2024

But Muslims are not covered under the Act. For migrants who arrived in India before December 31, 2014, and who experienced "religious persecution or fear of religious persecution in their country of origin," the CAA 2019 amendment makes them eligible for citizenship. In six years, this category of migrants will be granted expedited Indian citizenship.


Additionally, the change lowered the duration of residency from eleven to five years in order to facilitate these migrants' naturalisation.


Major poll plank

In both the West Bengal Assembly election and the most recent Lok Sabha election, the BJP received great attention during its campaign by bringing up the issue of implementation of CAA. The leaders of the saffron party believe that it was a reasonable factor in the BJP's growth in West Bengal.


The Manual on Parliamentary Work states that any legislation's rules must be drafted within six months following the president's assent, or else the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha's Committees on Subordinate Legislation must be asked for an extension. The Home Ministry has been requesting regular extensions from the parliamentary committee since 2020 in order to draft the regulations.


After Parliament passed the CAA, more than 100 individuals died in police action or during protests.


Citizenship Amendment Act 2024

Nine States can grant citizenship

Under the Citizenship Act, 1955, more than thirty District Magistrates and Home Secretaries of nine States have been granted the authority to confer Indian citizenship to individuals who identify as Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis, Christians, and who are originating from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, and Pakistan.


According to the annual report of the Ministry of Home Affairs for 2021-22, from April 1, 2021, to December 31, 2021, a total of 1,414 foreigners belonging to these non-Muslim minority communities from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan were given Indian citizenship by registration or naturalisation under the Citizenship Act, 1955.


Gujarat, Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh, Haryana, Punjab, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Delhi and Maharashtra are the nine States where Indian citizenship by registration or naturalisation is given under the Citizenship Act, 1955, to non-Muslim minorities from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan.


Interestingly, authorities in none of the districts of Assam and West Bengal, where the issue is politically very sensitive, have been given the powers so far.

Citizenship Amendment Act 2024

Legal and Constitutional Challenges

The Citizenship Amendment Act has faced legal challenges in India, with petitions filed in the Supreme Court questioning its constitutionality. Critics argue that the act violates the fundamental right to equality enshrined in the Indian Constitution, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of religion, race, caste, sex, or place of birth. The Supreme Court's decision on these petitions will have significant implications for the future of the CAA and its implementation.


Broader Implications

Beyond its immediate legal and constitutional ramifications, the Citizenship Amendment Act has broader implications for India's social fabric, political landscape, and international relations. The act has reignited debates surrounding the definition of Indian citizenship, the principles of secularism, and the rights of minority communities. It has also become a focal point for political mobilization, with various parties and groups positioning themselves either in support or opposition to the act.


Internationally, the CAA has drawn scrutiny and criticism from human rights organizations and foreign governments, who have raised concerns about its discriminatory nature and its impact on religious freedom. The act has sparked diplomatic tensions with neighboring countries, particularly Bangladesh, which has expressed reservations about India's stance on citizenship and immigration.


Citizenship Amendment Act 2024


The Citizenship Amendment Act remains a contentious and divisive issue, emblematic of the complex interplay between religion, politics, and citizenship in India. While proponents argue that the act fulfills a moral obligation to protect persecuted minorities, critics view it as a threat to India's secular identity and inclusive ethos. As the legal challenges and debates surrounding the CAA continue to unfold, it is imperative for Indian society to engage in constructive dialogue and deliberation, with a commitment to upholding the principles of equality, justice, and pluralism.


In conclusion, the Citizenship Amendment Act represents a critical juncture in India's journey as a pluralistic democracy, testing its commitment to secularism and inclusivity in the face of competing political, social, and legal narratives. The resolution of the controversies surrounding the CAA will not only shape the trajectory of Indian politics but also reflect the nation's enduring values and aspirations for a more just and equitable society.

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