Interpreting Citizenship Amendment Act: Its Content and Context

Published date01 December 2021
Date01 December 2021
Subject MatterArticles
Interpreting Citizenship
Amendment Act: Its
Content and Context
Keshab Chandra Ratha1
India is endowed with a proud history of inclusive government and religious tol-
erance. Indian citizenship has always been firmly rooted in the country’s constitu-
tion, which lays priority on equality, regardless of gender, caste, religion, class,
community or language. Attaching citizenship rights to religious affiliation runs
counter to the letter and spirit of India’s Constitution and constitutional moral-
ity. The major thrust of the present article is to project government’s stance on
the Citizenship Amendment Act, 2019, constitutional provisions in relation to
the Act, thematic arguments of critics and constitutional experts on the matter,
multifarious challenges ahead in respect of its implementation, by establishing the
fact that any measure taken must remain in conformity with international norms
and values and necessity of amending the law to do away with the arbitrary selec-
tion of countries and religious groups so that the current agitation can be easily
Citizenship, inclusive constitution, religious persecution, illegal immigrants
The Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), 2019, amends the Citizenship Act,
1955, and for the first time, will grant citizenship on the basis of religion to non-
Muslim communities from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan, who entered
India on or before 31 December 2014. It was passed by the Lok Sabha on
9 December 2019. The Citizenship Amendment Bill (CAB) exempts the tribal
areas of Assam, Meghalaya, Mizoram and Tripura, included in the Sixth
Indian Journal of Public
67(4) 559–572, 2021
© 2021 IIPA
Reprints and permissions:
DOI: 10.1177/00195561211056411
1 School of Political Science, Gangadhar Meher University, Odisha, India.
Corresponding author:
Keshab Chandra Ratha, Assistant Professor, School of Political Science, Gangadhar Meher University,
Amruta Vihar, Sambalpur 768001, Odisha, India.

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