DECLINING SECULARISM: THE CITIZENSHIP BILL

Introduction

India has broad diversity and a concept of secularism has retained India a federal country. The ordinary definition of the term ‘secular’ is ‘no religion’. But in our nation, the expression ‘secularism’ suggests something different, here the concept of secularism implies ‘regarding all religions’ and ‘liberty to practice every religion’. India is ‘one entity’ notwithstanding so enough ‘variety’. In 1947, British India was partitioned within two domains i.e., India and Pakistan, India prefer to endure secular on the opposite side Pakistan determined to convert an Islamic Nation.

The leaders like Maulana Abdul Kalam Azad, Mahatma Gandhi, Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, B.R Ambedkar, Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose and Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru represented their notion of secularism in their process and struggled collectively to deliver India a secular country which is cherished in the Constitution of India. The notion of secularism still endures amongst citizens, but the expressions made by the Politicians toward various religions or gender, and their act or strategy dilutes the concept of ‘secularism’, which sometimes result toward mob lynching, hostility, dread from one belief, etc. One such bill was declared by Lok Sabha which is toward secularism and thousands of people are complaining to eliminate it. This article will modernize you regarding ‘Why the aforementioned Bill is corresponding to secularism?’

Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2019

The Citizenship (Amendment) Bill was declared from 16thLok Sabha Session in January 2019 but never preceded in Rajya Sabha. Following, with the result of the 16th Parliament Session the Bill terminated from Lok Sabha. Consequently, the Bill was reached from Lok Sabha on 10th December 2019 and the next day it was announced from Rajya Sabha. Nevertheless, Bill was scrutinized by North-East states, and the rally which commenced in January extended. The analysis for the review of Bill is as regards –

The New Bill was included following the Amendment in the preceding Citizenship Act, 1955. The interpretation of ‘illegal immigrant’ was modified in the current Bill. Beforehand, any person who does have a proper record to determine his/her citizenship is an immigrant whereas according to a new bill, personalities from designated three nations i.e., Afghanistan, Pakistan and Bangladesh, referring to the especially considered religions, will not be discussed as ‘illegal immigrant’. The beliefs are as regards: Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis, and Christians from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, and Pakistan.

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According to the former Act, all persons who are residing in the nation from the past 11 years will become residents whereas according to the current act the resident living for 6 years will become a member.

Another condition announces that enrollment of OCI (Overseas Citizen of India) will be withdrawn in case of infringement of any regulation.

The principal critique expressed by the people is that it separates people based on religion. According to this Amendment, the principle of citizenship is the religion which is absolutely against the interpretation of secularism.

Bill in ContradictionThe aforementioned bill is in dispute with several existing substantial law. The inconsistency is as regards

Citizenship Bill v. NRC 

The National Register of Citizens, originally declared after the 1951 census, is then renewed on March 24, 1971. The document typically distinguishes those who accessed Assam illegally from Bangladesh after the above-mentioned period. The candidates have to suggest records to verify that their names emerged in the NRC 1951 or any constituent records of Assam till 1971. 

Certainly, the Citizenship Bill and National Register of Citizens support each other, as all the residents enrolled beneath the Bill will acquire citizenship under Bill.

But the deception in the new Bill is that it speaks regarding registration based on an individual’s belief whereas no such clause is there on the NRC.

Citizenship Bill v. Assam Accord 

The Assam Accord was endorsed by All Assam Students Union, Assam government and the Central Government in New Delhi in the year 1985. Consequently, a list has been created and executed, as a commitment to the dilemma of foreigners in Assam. According to the Accord, people who arrived in Assam before the 1st of January 1966 would be granted citizenship. Moreover, people who migrated from the state within 1st January 1966 to 24th March 1971 would be ‘condemned, according to the Foreigners Act,1946 and Foreigners (Tribunals) Order, 1964. Notwithstanding, the purpose of the foreigners who enrolled in Assam after 24th March 1971 is also presented. The signing of the agreement guaranteed that the confusion arose to an edge.

Indigenous People 

When the plan was issued in the year 2018, millions of people left out with the uncertainty of enhancing stateless. Most of them were poor illiterate and divisions of Muslim Minority.

To get enrolled in NRC, a person requires to establish the documentary proof that he/she or his/her predecessors have invaded the country before 1971. The State has a population of 32 million citizens including Indigenous People and various tribes. 

The Publication of National Register Citizens has withdrawn lakhs of people in the terror of losing their Citizenship. But there is nevertheless a flickering hope for those suspended from the NRC i.e. Foreign Tribunals. Foreign Tribunal is established beneath the Foreigners (Tribunals) Order, 1964, which was announced by the Central Government beneath Section 3 of the Foreigners Act, 1946. 

There are centuries of Foreign Tribunals in the Nation which has to be developed by the State Government. This quasi-judicial body is managed by the Lawyer called FT Member, who operates under bi-partisan branches under the State Government. 

Rule 8 of the Citizenship Rules,2003–

“Rule 8 of the Citizenship Rules, 2003 anybody whose title is not involved in the NRC, will not be handled as a foreigner. He has the power to appeal.”

The period for application is 60 days which was prolonged to 12 days by the State Government. 

Where the CAB does not implement?

The Act does not pertain to the seven North-Eastern states of India those are Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Manipur, Nagaland, and Tripura. Moreover, the Act pertains to the region which is not excused in the Sixth Schedule of Constitution and the areas incorporated under ‘The Interline’ mentioned beneath the Bengal Eastern Frontier,1873. To get this exemption properly, we have to observe the above two notions. 

Sixth Schedule: The Sixth Schedule of Constitution of India represents two Articles, Article 244(2), and 275(1) associates to the Special Provision in Administration of Assam, Meghalaya, Mizoram, and Tripura. This Procurement presents Special Powers for Autonomous District Councils (ADC) in these lands. The ADCs can establish regulations in the states under their Administration on a diversity of topics. 

The Interline: The Interline is mentioned beneath Bengal Eastern Frontier Regulation, 1873. The practice is known as the ‘Interline Permit System’ normally associated as ‘ILP’. The system commands in Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland, and Mizoram. The resident of other sections of India demands a grant associated with ‘ILP’ if they require to enroll in these three states. 

Manipur: The Manipur was a sovereign state when it blended with Indian Union in the year 1949 whereas it converted an autonomous status in the year 1972. 

Under the aforementioned Article, the concern of Residents is being preserved as the State subsists a tremendous volume of the tribal community. 

ConclusionThe Bill has previously examined in the Supreme Court of India by the ‘Indian Union of Muslim League’ accompanying with four additional members of Parliament. Aside from the aforementioned, the Bill faces critique by the most utmost of the Indian Citizens. 

Moreover, the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (UNICEF) called the Bill ‘genuinely frightened’ and ‘will acknowledge penalties toward the Home Minister and other prominent leaders.’ The Bill is against Secularism as it concedes citizenship based on an individual’s devotion. On the opposite surface, if citizenship is allowed, does the Indian Government have sufficient reserves to change the lives of new immigrants? As usual, the issue persists unanswered. It is presently on Apex Court to determine whether the change will endure Constitutionally legitimate or not.

Author: Varun Vikas Srivastav,
Amity Law School, Amity University Noida and 4th Year BBA.LLB

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