Key provisions of the CAA may conflict with certain articles of the Indian Constitution: Congress report

WASHINGTON: Key provisions of the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), which came into force this year, may conflict with certain provisions of the Indian Constitution, a report by an independent investigative arm of the US Congress has claimed. The CAA, which amends the Indian Citizenship Act, 1955, came into effect in March this year.

“The key provisions of the CAA – which provide a path to citizenship for immigrants of six faiths from three countries and exclude Muslims – may conflict with certain articles of the Indian Constitution,” said a short Congressional ‘In Focus’ report Research Service (CRS).

CRS is an independent research arm of the U.S. Congress that prepares reports on issues of interest to members of Congress so they can make informed decisions. CRS reports are not considered an official report of Congressional positions.

The Indian government and other proponents of the CAA have claimed that its purpose is purely humanitarian.

India has also rejected criticism of the CAA, saying “vote bank politics” should not shape views on a “commendable initiative” to help those in need.

Opponents of the law warn that Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) are pursuing a Hindu-majority, anti-Muslim agenda that threatens India’s status as an officially secular republic and violates international human rights standards and obligations, according to the report. said.

“Combined with a federal government-planned National Register of Citizens (NRC), the CAA could threaten the rights of India’s large Muslim minority of about 200 million people,” the three-page report said.

To expand

The CRS report informs members of Congress that the lead US diplomat for the region expressed “genuine concerns” about “India’s trajectory” in 2019 and that issues like the CAA “do not detract from India’s ability… assist in our efforts to once again promote this free and open Indo-Pacific.

“Some members of Congress have raised related concerns, including at the 118th Congress, where House Resolution 542 would condemn human rights abuses and violations of international religious freedom in India, and Senate Resolution 424, which seeks “a rapid end to the persecution of, and violence against, religious minorities and human rights defenders in India,” and urging New Delhi to amend “discriminatory” laws such as the CAA,” the report said.

Addressing an election rally in West Bengal, Union Defense Minister Rajnath Singh defended the CAA and asserted that no one can stop its implementation.

The CAA, he said, is not intended to take away anyone’s citizenship but is a law for granting Indian citizenship to people displaced from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan on religious grounds.

The Center had implemented the CAA in March and notified the rules four years after the law was passed by Parliament to fast-track citizenship for undocumented non-Muslim migrants from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan who came to India before December 31, 2014.

Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) spokesperson Randhir Jaiswal has also emphasized that “the CAA is about giving citizenship, not taking away citizenship. It addresses the issue of statelessness, provides human dignity and supports the human rights.”

Jaiswal further claimed that the law is an internal matter of India.