The Citizenship Amendment Bill received the President's assent on 12th December 2019 to become an Act in India. Ever since then, the entire nation has witnessed havoc. There have been massive campaigns, protests, and revolts by students, by people belonging to different communities, people from different states, all demanding that the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) should be repealed on the grounds that it violates the basic structure of the constitution by discriminating on the basis of religion. The provisions of the Act have caused discontent to the citizens of India especially, the Muslim Community. It aims at providing citizenship to non-muslim immigrants from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, and Pakistan. The Act brought about the following amendments in the Citizenship Act, 1955

●    After the enforcement of CAA, if a person who is a Hindu, Buddhist, Jain, Parsi or Christian and has entered into India on 31st December 2014 from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, and Pakistan will be granted citizenship of India from the date of their entry. Such persons were earlier considered as an illegal immigrant and were exempted from granting citizenship of India under various laws. This will also result at the end of any pending proceedings against the aforementioned persons. This amendment does not include Muslims thus, inciting hatred among the entire Muslim community in India. Any Muslim person belonging to these three countries will not be granted citizenship in India and will be considered as n illegal immigrant. 

●    As per the earlier law, if a person wanted to gain the citizenship of India by naturalization, he should have resided in India for a minimum period of 11 years. With the enforcement of CAA, a person can now become a citizen of India by residing for an average of 5 years. 

Why is the CAA being opposed?

The CAA has hardly received any appraisal. It has mostly been subjected to criticism by the citizens of the country as well as the opposition. There have been violent protests against the CAA due to the  following reasons:

●    Discrimination of Muslims- people protesting against CAA are of the view that it has been enforced to encourage discrimination against Muslims, that its enforcement is a step taken in the direction to make India a Hindu nation, and that the current government wants to wipe out the Muslim population in the country. It is contended that the CAA violates Article 14 of the Constitution since, after the amendment, citizenship will be provided to only Hindus, Buddhists, Sikhs, Jains and Christians and not Muslims.  It does not ensure equality to the citizens of India by exempting Muslims from being granted citizenship of India after residing in India for five years. 

●    Violation of Human Rights- It has been argued that the CAA is not only violative of the basic principles of our Constitution but also ignores the human rights of immigrants. India is a signatory to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and provides shelter to refugees. However, the CAA does not allow the Muslim Refugees from Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Bangladesh to seek shelter in India. This will infringe on their universal right to seek shelter in India at the time of necessity.

●    Against the basic structure of the Constitution- The Preamble to the Constitution of India declares a Secular state and guarantees the principles of liberty, equality, and fraternity to all its citizens. However, the CAA is said to be against the basic structure of our Constitution as it discriminates between the Muslims and Non-Muslims, thereby, violating the principles of liberty and Equality. Also, India is a secular State. It has been argued that the CAA is opposed to the Secular nature of India as it refuses to grant citizenship to the Muslims immigrants.

The truth behind enforcing CAA

The CAA has been widely condemned but there are still a fraction of people that are in favor of the Act. The government is making several attempts to explain the purpose of enforcing CAA. The following counter-arguments have been made by the government in response to all the criticisms. 

●    As per the Central Government, the real motive behind enforcing CAA is to not discriminate against the Muslim immigrants but to protect and provide shelter to the Hindu, Jain, Buddhist, and Christian minorities living in Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Bangladesh. The government has argued that these three nations are theocratic Islamic nations where non-Muslims are in the minority and have been recipients of brutality since 1947. Only the non-Muslim minority in Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Bangladesh have been persecuted but no Muslim from these countries has taken shelter in India because of brutality.

●    The government of India has contended that the CAA is not violative of Article 14 of the Constitution as it is based on a reasonable classification. According to Article 14, the Parliament has the power to frame laws based on reasonable classification. The distinction between Muslims and Non-Muslims in the CAA has been made on the grounds of religious persecution of the non-Muslim minority in the Islamic states of Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh. The need for CAA was felt to protect the religious minorities in these three nations which can be considered as reasonable classification in the eyes of Law. Hence the CAA is not violative of Article 14 of the Constitution.


There have been widespread protests by the citizens of India to show discontent against the CAA. However, due to several attempts by the government, people have now started supporting the Act.


eStartIndia Team

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