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140 pleas against CAA hang fire

Topics Covered: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.

140 pleas against CAA hang fire:


Context:

Over 140 petitions challenging the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) have been pending for nearly a year in the Supreme Court, leaving petitioners from various walks of life and across the political spectrum “deeply disappointed” over the delay.

Background:

  • In December 2019, the court declined a stay while asking the Centre to make an all-out effort to disseminate the actual legislative intent of the citizenship law.
  • In January 2020, the court, to another plea to stay the law, had said the CAA was “uppermost in everybody’s minds”.

What’s the concern wrt to CAA?

The CAA fast-tracks citizenship-by-naturalisation process for persons from six religious communities, other than Muslims, who have fled persecution from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan.

  • The petitions against CAA have argued that a law that welcomes “illegal migrants” into India selectively on the basis of their religion, is against principles of secularism, right to equality and dignity of life enshrined in the Basic Structure of the Constitution.

What’s the issue? Why these petitions should be held at the earliest?

  1. The case runs the risk of becoming infructuous.
  2. Communal riots and violence had rocked the national capital over the anti-CAA protests.
  3. The CAA has been unprecedented in many ways — the nature of amendment which strikes at the root of the Basic Structure of the Constitution.

Therefore, it would be in the best interest of all that the Supreme Court hears the case at the earliest and put at rest these issues.

How the government defends the law?

The Union Home Ministry described the CAA as a “benign” law which does not lead to expulsion, deportation or refoulement of illegal migrants.

  • It says that the CAA merely offers “amnesty” without hurting India’s secularism.
  • It relaxes the settled principles of Indian citizenship for Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christians persecuted in the “theocratic States” of Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan.

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. Which religions are covered under CAA?
  2. Countries covered under the law.
  3. Provisions wrt Overseas Citizen of India (OCI) cardholders in the law.
  4. Constitutional provisions wrt citizenship in the Indian Constitution.
  5. Differences between NRI, OCI and PIO.

Mains Link:

The CAA has been unprecedented in many ways. Comment.

Sources: the Hindu.