14th December 2019 : The Hindu Editorials Notes: Mains Sure Shot
Note 1: Today there are two important articles and both are on economic slowdown. The article titled ‘Twin troubles: Slow growth and high inflation’ deals with reduction in demand and simultaneous rise in prices. It focuses on the need to increase consumer demand. Both the topics have been covered in detail several times. Refer to the articles of 1st October, 2nd September, 7th October, 16th September, 18th November and 18th October.
Note 2: earlier we had written about the Citizenship Amendment Bill, 2019, the following are the additional details, add in your notes:
- Meaning of citizenship
- Citizenship implies full and equal membership of a political community. Citizenship provides collective political identity to their members. Citizens expect certain rights and and help and protection wherever they may travel.
- The precise nature of rights may vary from one state to another. States provides social, economic and political rights to citizens. Equality of rights and status is one of the basic rights of citizenship.
- Citizens from various states have achieved various kinds of rights through struggle, revolution and movements. Today’s spectrum of rights is the accumulation progressive realization of rights over the period of time. Struggles to achieve full membership and equal rights continue even now in many parts of the world. You may have read about the women’s movement and the dalit movement in our country. Their purpose is to change public opinion by drawing attention to their needs as well as to influence government policy to ensure them equal rights and opportunities.
- Citizenship , in addition to defining the relationship of citizens with state , also covers the moral and legal obligation of citizens towards other citizens and society. Citizens are also considered to be the inheritors and trustees of the culture and natural resources of the country.
- Meaning of full and equal membership :- Citizen are given right to freedom of movement across the country. Citizens are also considered to be the inheritors and trustees of the culture and natural resources of the country. This right is essential for migrant laborers whether skilled or poor unskilled laborers.
- The right to protest is an aspect of the freedom of expression guaranteed to citizens in our Constitution, provided protest does not harm the life or property of other people or the State. Citizens are free to try and influence public opinion and government policy by forming groups, holding demonstrations, using the media, appealing to political parties, or by approaching the courts. The courts may give a decision on the matter , or they may urge the government to address the issues. A basic principle of democratic societies is that such disputes are to be solved through negotiation and dialogue rather than force. This is one of the obligations of citizenship.
Arguments against the bill:
- Against the idea of inclusive and equal citizenship ;- A key argument against the CAB is that it will not be extended to those persecuted in Myanmar and Sri Lanka, from where Rohingya Muslims and Tamils are staying in the country as refugees. Further, it fails to allow Shia and Ahmadiyya Muslims, who also face persecution, to apply for citizenship. This notion of religion based citizenship is opposite to the shared idea of India. Government argument is that Muslim can not be persecuted in Islamic countries.
- The exemption from the application of the CAB’s provisions in tribal areas in Assam, Meghalaya, Mizoram and Tripura, and the Inner Line Permit areas in Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland and Mizoram, with Manipur to be added soon, is clearly based on political expediency, even if it is in line with the constitutional guarantees given to indigenous populations and statutory protection given to ILP areas.
- Violation of Article 14 :- According to the legal test prescribed by courts, for a law to satisfy the conditions under Article 14, it has to first create a “reasonable class” of subjects that it seeks to govern under the law. Second, the legislation has to show a “rational nexus” between the subject and the object it seeks to achieve. Even if the classification is reasonable, any person who falls in that category has to be treated alike. If protecting the persecuted minorities is ostensibly the objective of the law, then the exclusion of some countries and using religion as a yardstick may fall foul of the test. Further, granting citizenship on the grounds of religion is seen to be against the secular nature of the Constitution which has been recognised as part of the basic structure that cannot be altered by Parliament. Shah argued that “persecuted minorities in three neighbouring countries, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan, whose state religion is Islam”, is a reasonable classification.
- Another argument is that the law does not account for other categories of migrants who may claim persecution in other countries.
- Protest in Assam :- The protesters believed that new law violates the Assam Accord of 1985 which sets 24th March 1971 as the cutoff date for Indian citizenship. Under the new law cutoff dates is December 31, 2014 , for Hindus , Christians , Sikhs and Parsis , Budhhist , jain from Pakistan , Bangladesh and Afghanistan. The protesters are worried about the prospect of arrival of more migrant, irrespective of religion which may impact the local culture , language and increases the pressure on land resources and job opportunities.
- Muslim population left out to be covered in NRC will not be granted citizenship under new Amendment.
Provision of constitution:
- Under Article 6 of the Constitution, a migrant from Pakistan (part of which is now Bangladesh) is to be granted citizenship if she entered India before July 19, 1948. In Assam, which has seen large-scale migration from East Pakistan (later Bangladesh), a migrant will get citizenship if she entered the state before the 1971 date mentioned in the Assam Accord.
How to obtain Indian citizenship:
- Under The Citizenship Act, 1955, there are four ways to obtain citizenship.
- Citizenship by birth: In 1955, the law provided that anyone born in India on or after January 1, 1950 would be deemed a citizen by birth. This was later amended to limit citizenship by birth to those born between January 1, 1950 and January 1, 1987.
- It was amended again by the Citizenship Amendment Act, 2003; those born after December 3, 2004 will be deemed a citizen of India by birth if one parent is an Indian and the other is not an illegal immigrant. So, if one parent is an illegal immigrant, the child born after 2004 will have to acquire Indian citizenship through other means, not simply by birth. The law describes an illegal migrant as a foreigner who: (i) enters the country without valid travel documents, like a passport and visa, or (ii) enters with valid documents, but stays beyond the permitted time period.
- Citizenship by descent: A person born outside India and who has at least one Indian parent will be granted citizenship provided that the birth is registered within 1 year with the Indian consulate in the jurisdiction.
- Citizenship by registration: This is for persons related to an Indian citizen through marriage or ancestry.
- Citizenship by naturalisation: Section 6 of the Citizenship Act states a certificate of naturalisation can be granted to a person who is not an illegal immigrant and has resided in India continuously for 12 months before making an application. Additionally, in the 14 years before the 12-month period, the person must have lived in India for at least 11 years (relaxed to five years for the categories covered under the new amendment).
- Waiver: If in the opinion of the central government, the applicant has rendered distinguished service to the cause of science, philosophy, art, literature, world peace or human progress generally, it may waive all or any of the conditions in the Act. This is how the Dalai Lama or Adnan Sami, the Pakistani singer, were granted Indian citizenship.
India’s refugee policy:
- As far as illegal immigrants are concerned, India does not have a national policy on granting asylum or refugee status. The Home Ministry, however, has a standard operating procedure for dealing with foreign nationals who claim to be refugees. The government has dealt with refugees on a case-by-case basis by either granting them work permits or long-term visas. Significantly, there was no provision in the Citizenship Act to grant citizenship particularly to minorities or refugees till the latest amendment.