Secularism and the Citizenship Amendment Act

This paper examines the provisions of the recently enacted Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2019 (CAA) against the backdrop of the citizenship provisions of the Indian Constitution. It argues that by articulating a preference towards non-Muslim immigrants and discriminating against Muslim immigrants, the CAA is vaguely reminiscent of policies adopted by the Indian government at the time of the partition of the country and the framing of the Constitution. However, this paper will then argue that the CAA is unconstitutional by today’s standards because the conditions which existed during the days of India’s dominionship, between August 1947 and January 1950, viz., partition-era housing shortages and a communal environment charged by millions of refugees, no longer exist in India today. It posits that the CAA is discriminatory for several reasons though not for the insidious, mala fide reasons that are usually attributed to the government in popular discourse.

Abhinav Chandrachud, Secularism and the Citizenship Amendment Act, Indian Law Review, 2020.