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Citizenship Amendment Act 2019 (CAA), Implementation Points

Citizenship Amendment Act 2019 Notification Released

India’s long-debated Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) is now operational, permitting non-Muslim migrants from neighboring nations refuge due to religious persecution before December 31, 2014. The BJP administration’s move, just preceding the 2024 Lok Sabha elections, has reignited fervent debates. Applicants can conveniently apply online sans extensive documentation.

Despite government reassurances, critics, including West Bengal’s Mamata Banerjee, decry potential misuse and religious discrimination. The CAA’s swift enactment prompts scepticism, with opposition leaders alleging political manoeuvring. As India grapples with its newfound reality, questions linger regarding societal cohesion and religious freedoms amidst a politically charged atmosphere.

Date Details
9 December 2019 CAA Bill Passed in Lok Sabha
11 December 2019 CAA Bill Passed in Rajya Sabha
11 March 2024 Citizenship Amendment Act Notification Released for Implementation

What is CAA India?

CAA Full Form stands for Citizenship Amendment Act, a law passed by the Indian Parliament in December 2019. The Constitution of India deals with Citizenship under Part II (Articles 5 to 11); however, the constitution does not contain any elaborate provision related to Citizenship as it identifies only those individuals who became citizens of India during the commencement of the constitution.

It does not deal with the issues of acquiring and loss of citizenship in India. Hence Article 11 of the constitution empowers the parliament to enact laws concerning Citizenship in India. The CAA aims to expedite Indian citizenship for persecuted religious minorities from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, and Pakistan.

Citizenship Amendment Act Background

India’s citizenship rights did not exist until India gained its independence. Such rights were not guaranteed under British rule; the British Citizenship and Aliens Rights Act of 1914, which was abolished in 1948, was in effect throughout the pre-independence period. According to the British Nationality Act, Indians were originally classified as British subjects without citizenship.

A large-scale movement of the population took place across a new border separating India and Pakistan after the partition in 1947, due to which the constituent assembly limited the scope of the provision of citizenship in the constitution and empowered the Parliament for determining citizenship rights. As a result, Parliament enacted the Citizenship Amendment Act of 1955.

Read More: Fundamental Rights of Indian Constitution

How Many Times Citizenship Act Amended ?

Citizenship Act Amendments Year of Amendment Significant Changes
Citizenship Act of 1955 Original enactment setting guidelines for acquiring and determining Indian citizenship.
1st Amendment 1986 Introduced provisions for acquiring citizenship by birth, descent, registration, and naturalization.
2nd Amendment 1992 Focused on the acquisition of overseas citizenship.
3rd Amendment 2003 Added provisions regarding the registration of Overseas Citizens of India (OCI).
4th Amendment 2005 Included provisions related to dual citizenship for Persons of Indian Origin (PIO).
5th Amendment 2015 Introduced the concept of overseas citizenship for Indian diaspora.
6th Amendment (CAA) 2019 Granted citizenship to illegal migrants from specified communities in neighboring countries.


Citizenship Amendment Act 1955

The act of 1955 talks about the acquisition and determination of Indian Citizenship, it also talks about overseas citizenship and the termination of Indian citizenship.

Acquisition of Indian citizenship Loss of Indian Citizenship
  • By Birth
  • By Descent 
  • By Registration
  • By Naturalisation
  • Incorporation of a territory
  • Special citizenship regulations for those governed by the Assam Accord
  • By Renunciation
  • By Termination
  • By Deprivation

Five amendments to the Citizenship Act of 1955 have been made since then in 1986, 2003, 2005, 2015, and 2019. By way of these modifications, Parliament has condensed the more general and universal foundations of citizenship based on the fact of birth through these amendments.

Read about: Salient Features of Constitution of India

Citizenship Amendment Act 1986

The original Citizenship Act, which gave citizenship to everyone born in India on the basis of jus soli, and the 1986 revision to Section 3 were both more expansive than the constitutional provision. People born in India on or after January 26, 1950, but before July 1, 1987, had to be citizens of India as a result of the amendment.

A person is only eligible for citizenship if either of their parents was an Indian citizen at the time of their birth and they were born between July 1, 1987, and December 4, 2003.

Read More: Constituent Assembly of India

Citizenship Amendment Act 2003

The standards were revised to be more stringent in order to prevent infiltration from Bangladesh under this amendment act of 2003. In addition to their own birth, children born on or after December 4, 2004, are now required to have either both Indian citizens or one Indian citizen and one who is not an illegal immigrant.

India is close to adopting the limited jus sanguinis (blood relationship) basis thanks to these restrained amendments. According to this, a person who entered India illegally and stayed there for seven years cannot become a citizen of India by naturalisation or registration.

Read More: Jammu and Kashmir

Citizenship Amendment Act 2005

The dual citizenship system was included. Except for those who are citizens of Pakistan and Bangladesh, this applies to all nationals.

Read More: Reorganisation of States

Citizenship Amendment Act 2015

Citizenship through Registration and Naturalisation: For individuals working for the Indian government and residing in the nation for 12 months, the government may ease the requirements for citizenship for up to 30 days. The amalgamation of the Persons of Indian Origin and Overseas Citizens of India programs.

Renunciation and Cancellation of Foreign Citizenship: There are provisions to revoke the Overseas Citizenship of India card received by a spouse of an Indian citizen or an Overseas Citizen of India if the marriage is declared null and void or the spouse marries someone else.

Read More: Preamble of Indian Constitution

Citizenship Amendment Act 2019

The Citizenship Act of 1955 was amended by the Citizenship Amendment Bill (CAA Bill), which was first introduced in Lok Sabha in 2016. The CAA was passed to provide Indian citizenship to illegal immigrants who arrived in the country on or before December 31, 2014. Important features of the Citizenship Amendment Act 2019 are given below:

  • Objective: The CAA was enacted with the primary objective of amending the Citizenship Act of 1955 to grant Indian citizenship to specific religious minorities facing persecution in neighboring countries.
  • Eligible Communities: The CAA provides a fast-track citizenship process for illegal migrants belonging to six religious communities – Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Christians, and Parsis – who migrated from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, and Pakistan before December 31, 2014.
  • Excluded Community: Muslims are not included in the list of eligible communities, which has been a source of controversy and criticism, with concerns raised about potential discrimination based on religion.
  • Cut-off Date: The eligibility criteria specify that migrants must have entered India on or before December 31, 2014, to be considered for expedited citizenship.
  • Path to Citizenship: The CAA offers eligible migrants a pathway to Indian citizenship through naturalization, provided they fulfill the conditions outlined in the legislation.
  • Nationwide Protests: The enactment of the CAA triggered widespread protests across India, with concerns raised about its potential impact on the secular fabric of the country and the exclusion of Muslims.
  • Link to National Register of Citizens (NRC): The CAA is often discussed in conjunction with the proposed National Register of Citizens (NRC), leading to concerns about its potential use in determining citizenship status and the possible exclusion of certain groups.
  • International Reaction: The CAA drew attention internationally, with human rights organizations and foreign governments expressing concerns about its implications, particularly regarding religious discrimination.
  • Legal Challenges: The CAA faced legal challenges in various courts, with petitions questioning its constitutionality and compatibility with India’s secular principles.
  • Implementation Delays: Despite being enacted in December 2019, the implementation of the CAA faced delays due to ongoing protests, legal proceedings, and the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) Controversy 

  • Exclusion of Muslims: One of the primary points of contention is the exclusion of Muslims from the list of eligible communities, leading to accusations of religious discrimination. Critics argue that this goes against the secular principles enshrined in the Indian Constitution.
  • Alleged Violation of Equality: Opponents claim that the CAA violates the principle of equality before the law by differentiating between migrants based on their religious identity.
  • Link with National Register of Citizens (NRC): The CAA’s association with the proposed National Register of Citizens (NRC) adds to the controversy. Critics fear that when combined, these initiatives could potentially target Muslims and other marginalized groups, questioning their citizenship status.
  • Impact on Secularism: The CAA’s exclusion of Muslims is seen by some as a departure from India’s historical commitment to secularism. Critics argue that it undermines the inclusive and diverse fabric of the country.
  • Widespread Protests: The enactment of the CAA sparked nationwide protests, with citizens expressing concerns about the legislation’s implications for the secular nature of the country. Students, intellectuals, and activists played a significant role in organizing and participating in these protests.
  • Police Action and Clashes: Some protests turned violent, leading to clashes with law enforcement. Instances of police action against protesters and allegations of excessive force added fuel to the controversy.
  • International Criticism: The CAA drew attention internationally, with concerns raised by human rights organizations and foreign governments regarding its potential impact on religious minorities and the broader principles of inclusivity.
  • Legal Challenges: The CAA faced legal challenges in various courts, with petitions questioning its constitutionality. The Supreme Court of India has taken up the matter, and the legal proceedings continue.
  • Civil Society Opposition: Civil society organizations, intellectuals, and public figures have voiced their opposition to the CAA, emphasizing the need to uphold the secular and inclusive values of the Indian Constitution.


In conclusion, the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) has been a contentious issue in India, marked by debates over its potential impact on religious equality and secularism. The exclusion of Muslims from the list of eligible communities, concerns about its link to the National Register of Citizens (NRC), and widespread protests have fueled the controversy. As legal challenges persist, the CAA remains a focal point for discussions on the foundational principles of India’s democracy and its commitment to inclusivity.

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Citizenship Amendment Act

When the Citizenship Act was enacted?

It was enacted by parliament in 1955.

Which article of constitution empowers the Parliament to enact law on Citizenship?

Article 11 of Indian constitution empowers the parliament to make laws on Citizenship.

Which is the new Citizenship Amendment Act in India?

The Citizenship Amendment Act, 2019, aims to offer citizenship to a group of migrants from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, or Pakistan who are members of the Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, Parsi, or Christian communities.

How many times does the Citizenship Act 1955 has been amended?

Five amendments to the Citizenship Act of 1955 have been made since then in 1986, 2003, 2005, 2015, and 2019.

The Citizenship Amendment Act 2019 is applied to which religious communities?

It is applied only to the Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis, and Christians.

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