The Citizenship Act, 1955 (1955 Act) was amended by the Parliament in December 2019 and now includes a new provision to Section 2(1)(b), which defines “illegal migrants.” Therefore, those who entered India on or before December 31, 2014, and who belonged to the Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, Parsi, or Christian communities from Bangladesh, Pakistan, or Afghanistan and were exempted by the Central government under the Passport (Entry into India) Act, 1920, or the Foreigners Act, 1946, were not to be treated as “illegal migrants” and were instead eligible to apply for citizenship under the 1955 Act. The legislation essentially loosened the requirements for some groups of migrants from three nearby countries with a majority of Muslims in terms of religion.

Ahead of the Lok Sabha elections, a number of opposition figures have accused the Central government, led by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), of using polarisation tactics to divert attention from pressing concerns. Mamata Banerjee, the chief minister of West Bengal, has been adamantly opposed to the CAA and declared that she would fight any regulations that “deprive” people of what they are entitled to.

What is the Citizenship Amendment Act?

The purpose of the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) is to safeguard those who have fled religious persecution in India. It provides a safeguard against proceedings related to illegal migration. Applicants have to have arrived in India before or on December 31, 2014, in order to be qualified for citizenship. Citizenship in India is currently awarded to individuals who were born there or who have resided there for a minimum of 11 years. A clause pertaining to the revocation of Overseas Citizens of India (OCI) registration in the event that the OCI cardholder breaches any provision of the Citizenship Act or another applicable legislation is also included in the proposed amendment.


According to the change, anyone who identify as Hindu, Sikh, Jain, Buddhist, Parsi, Christian, or who entered India prior to December 31, 2014, shall be considered lawful migrants.

The amendment shields six communities from religious discrimination in Bangladesh, Pakistan, and Afghanistan because all three are Islamic nations, and as such, there can be no religious discrimination against Muslims.

The Citizenship Amendment Act, 1955’s naturalization or registration process enables foreign nationals of any faith to become citizens of India.

Controversies on the CAA

Parliament passed the bill in 2019, but Modi’s administration postponed putting it into effect following violent demonstrations that claimed many lives.

People of all faiths who believed the bill compromised India’s foundation as a secular republic were drawn to the countrywide rallies. Muslims were especially concerned that the law might be used against them in conjunction with a planned citizenship registry.

The Modi administration is attempting to identify and exclude those who it believes entered India illegally, in part by creating the National Register of Citizens. The northeastern state of Assam is the only place where the registry is currently in use, but the BJP has pledged to launch a national citizenship verification initiative.

The citizenship bill, according to critics and Muslim organizations, will shield non-Muslims who are not included in the register, while Muslims may be interned or deported.

Advantages of CAA

This idea might end up being a huge success. Given below are bullet points highlighting some of the arguments in favour of the same:

Since a nation cannot function without a register of its residents, the NRC aims to keep a registry of its own citizens in order to help weed out unlawful immigrants. This has proven to be a significant source of worry, particularly in our nation’s east and northeast.

The CAA aims to provide a dignified sanctuary to individuals who have fled religious persecution in neighbouring countries without excluding lawfully resident Indian residents of any faith.

The CAA does not preclude the possibility of awarding Indian citizenship to individuals who belong to the majority faith in these three nations and fulfil all the requirements listed for typical circumstances.

Owing to anticipated apprehensions from individuals inhabiting the northeastern part of India, the legislation has deemed residents of states possessing an Inner Line Permit exempt from the jurisdiction of the CAA. There is a sizable tribal population in a number of the states in this region despite their low population density. Therefore, there was concern that a flood of immigrants—religious or not—would change the culture and influence voting behaviour, compromising long-standing cultural customs. This has been respected by removing the locations where an inner line permit is required.

Since 2014 is the cutoff date, the law doesn’t in any manner urge future immigration. Bangladesh, which at first denied any involvement in the illegal movement of people abroad, has now offered assistance by stating that individuals who are found to be citizens of Bangladesh will be repatriated.

Since the Assam Accord served as the foundation for the arguably flawed NRC process, it need not be seen as the model for the rest of India’s exercise. Instead, the remaining drafts will be based on those that have not yet been released.

Disadvantages of CAA

Although this plan has some intrinsic benefits, it also has some drawbacks. These are talked about in the section below:

This rule completely violates the ideals outlined in the Indian Constitution, particularly Article 14, which affirms the equality of all religions, as it discriminates severely against one particular religion.

Serious ramifications also extend to the northeast, where a large number of tribal people live in sparsely populated states that could see a demographic shift due to an inflow of immigrants of any faith.

There were numerous problems with the NRC procedure that was used in Assam. Due to the requirements in the old Assam Accord, the deadline was set for March 1971.  Millions of underprivileged individuals, in particular, were forced to gamble their entire life savings in order to obtain the necessary paperwork. Many, however, were excluded from the process.

To accommodate the millions of people who will be relocated, several detention facilities have already been constructed, and more are probably on the way. The fact that Bangladesh has generally denied any involvement in any illegal immigration from outside the country has made this issue worse and may make it difficult to “take back” its citizens.

The hypothesis of huge illegal migration fails on one count: the current state of the Bangladeshi economy is significantly better than that of India. In contrast to its larger neighbour’s 4.5% increase, the growth rate for the most recent quarter was estimated to be 8.1%. In actuality, Bangladesh’s per capita income is currently higher than that of the state of Assam and only slightly lower than that of West Bengal or the Indian average.

Additionally, the entire procedure runs the risk of undermining India’s standing internationally. Although Bangladesh is moving closer to China in terms of policy, it is still a friendly neighbor and a vital commercial ally in many respects. In addition to its current rapid economic growth, Bangladesh has not historically been a theocratic state, thus demonization of the nation across the border could have dire consequences.

Impact of CAA

India is currently at a critical point in its history, with the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) coming into effect. This might have a significant impact on the country’s political landscape and social fabric, especially with regard to its Muslim majority.

The Indian government’s execution of the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) has a wide range of ramifications that need careful examination of different variables. The act’s possible humanitarian effects are a major worry, especially in light of the underprivileged people it affects.

Although the CAA seeks to give safety to marginalized groups facing persecution in nearby nations, concerns are raised over the wider impact it may have on India’s political landscape and social structure. Concerns regarding discrimination and exclusion are raised by the act’s focus on religious identity when giving citizenship, which could exacerbate already-existing tensions in society.

Further complexity is introduced by the CAA’s confluence with other suggested actions like the National Population Register (NPR) and the National Register of Citizens (NRC). Checking eligibility under the CAA and obtaining documentation of citizenship status may provide difficulties for vulnerable groups, such as marginalised and economically disadvantaged individuals.

Legal Challenges and Government Response

The All Assam Students Union (AASU) began a satyagraha to oppose the CAA’s implementation across the state on March 13. On the same day, AASU also filed a plea with the Supreme Court contesting the Rules, arguing that they are in conflict with Section 6A of the Citizenship Act of 1955 as well as the Assam Accord. The most recent event was when Owaisi filed a petition on March 16 asking for a delay of the CAA’s implementation. Additionally, according to Owaisi’s appeal, the CAA violates the Constitution’s Articles 14 (Equality before the law) and 25 (Freedom of conscience and the right to freely profess, practice, and propagate one’s faith).

The validity of Section 6A of the Citizenship Act of 1955 is another matter on which the court is deliberating. After the union government and the government of Assam signed the Assam Accord in 1985, Section 6A was added to the citizenship statute. It allows foreign nationals to petition for Indian citizenship if they arrived in Assam after January 1, 1966, but before March 25, 1971. An alternative timeframe is offered by the CAA. Therefore, the deadline given by the CAA would be in breach of Section 6A if the court upholds its validity.


The Indian government’s execution of the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) has a wide range of ramifications that need careful examination of different variables. The act’s possible humanitarian effects are a major worry, especially in light of the underprivileged people it affects.

In order to handle the complications, a nuanced strategy that strikes a balance between humanitarian concerns and the equality and nondiscrimination guaranteed by the Constitution is needed. Respecting India’s secular culture and preserving the rights and integrity of all its people, irrespective of their religious origin or allegiance, is imperative.


Why do Indians oppose CAA?

The law’s opponents contend that it may result in prejudice against India’s 200 million Muslims, the third-largest Muslim community in the world, together with a planned national registry of residents.

Is CAA good for Muslims?

This assertion has been made again and again by the Indian administration. The citizenship status of Indian Muslims is neither threatened or called into doubt by the Citizenship Act. Instead of taking away someone’s citizenship, the Citizenship Amendment Act seeks to grant citizenship to that person.

Why is CAA necessary?

The CAA was created with the intention of providing citizenship and protection to people who have been persecuted for their religious beliefs in their native countries.