ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Reading the CAA–NRC Protests

An Epistemic Change?

It was the Central Legislative Assembly of British India that first enacted the Foreigners Act, 1946, giving the government the powers to deal with “foreigners” in India. The enigmatic definition of the term “foreigner” in it was “one who is not Indian.” In December 1955, Parliament enacted the Citizenship Act, within the framework of Article 11 of the Constitution, which empowered it to make provisions related to acquisition and termination of citizenship. This act provided substantive and procedural norms for the determination of Indian citizenship. In 2003, the central government promulgated the Citizenship (Registration of Citizens and Issue of National Identity Cards) Rules under which the Rules 3 and 4 provided an outline for the maintenance and preparation of the National Register of Citizens (NRC), throughout the country.

In 2015, building upon these provisions and rules, the Ministry of Home Affairs made an amendment in the Passport (Entry into India) Rules, 1950, and Foreigners Order, 1948, and allowed entry to persons belonging to minority communities in Bangladesh and Pakistan, namely Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christians seeking shelter in India due to religious persecution or its apprehension, and had entered into India on or before 31 December 2014, without valid documents. In July 2016, the ministry made an amendment, in the Passport (Entry into India) Rules, 1950, and Foreigners Order, 1948 and substituted the word “Bangladesh,” for words “Afghanistan and Bangladesh.” The “amendment” under the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2019 (CAA) specifically pertains to Section 2(1)(b) of the Citizenship Act, 1955. The amended act provides that

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Updated On : 10th Feb, 2020
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