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Kerala becomes first state to pass anti-CAA resolution

Topics Covered:Functions and responsibilities of the Union and the States, issues and challenges pertaining to the federal structure, devolution of powers and finances up to local levels and challenges therein.

Kerala becomes first state to pass anti-CAA resolution

What to study?

For Prelims: Key features of the Act, Citizenship Act 1955, Citizenship- acquisition and types available.

For Mains: Issues over the Bill, why NE States oppose to this bill?

Context: Kerala has become the first state in India to pass a resolution demanding rollback of the controversial Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA).  

Why? – Kerala’s arguments:

The CAA act contradicts the basic values and principles of the Constitution.

It is against the “secular” outlook and fabric of the country and would lead to religion-based discrimination in granting citizenship.

Background:

The Parliament had passed the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill 2019 on December 11, 2019. The act had triggered widespread protests across India and created fear of discrimination based on religion.

Kerala has already put on hold all the activities in connection with the National Population Register (NPR) considering the anxiety among people that it relates to the National Register of Citizens (NRC).

What’s the issue now?

The Centre has clarified that the CAA act will not impact any Indian citizen including Muslims.

The clarification has failed to have any impact on the protests, with many states announcing that they will not implement the law.

The Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2019:

  1. It seeks to allow illegal migrants from certain minority communities in Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan eligible for Indian citizenshipby amending the Citizenship Act of 1955.
  2. It seeks to grant citizenship to people from minority communities —Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christians —after 6 years of stay in India even if they do not possess any proper document. The current requirement is 12 years of stay.
  3. The Bill provides that the registration of Overseas Citizen of India (OCI) cardholders may be cancelled if they violate any law.

Why is it criticised?

  1. It violates the basic tenets of the Constitution. Illegal immigrants are distinguished on the basis of religion.
  2. It is perceived to be a demographic threat to indigenous communities.
  3. It makes illegal migrants eligible for citizenship on the basis of religion. This may violate Article 14 of the Constitution which guarantees the right to equality.
  4. It attempts to naturalise the citizenship of illegal immigrants in the region.
  5. It allows cancellation of OCI registration for violation of any law. This is a wide ground that may cover a range of violations, including minor offences.

Sources: The Hindu.