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To summarize, this research article has been discussed terrorism in Afghanistan and the ongoing humanitarian and refugee crisis in the state of Afghanistan, the impact on the lives of such people living under the terror of trying to save their lives, and importance of citizenship for such people who have fled away from their native countries in a need of safe environment. The article briefly explains how to combat the situation and what are the different nations doing to extend a helping hand along with India. The detailed Constitutional provisions related to citizenship have been discussed with case laws. It discusses all of the legal remedies that are present in the territory of India for illegal immigrants and the refugees, explanation and different comments about the new citizenship amendment act effectiveness, as well as the new provisions of state, exempted from the applicability of the act, the provision introduced about the cancellation of Overseas citizenship of India and the ongoing protests in the different parts of the country and how the covid 19 pandemics in the nation subsided the protests for the safety of the general public, the article also discusses the stats of the people residing as refugees in the territory of India and the immediate beneficiaries of the act too. At the end of the article, the conclusion of the whole article has been given to get to know that how the situation could be improved for the refugees and the need of the changes and new policy enactment for better regularization of the refugees and none citizens residing in the country without being caught.
We all have heard about the chilling instance of violence, criminal force, heinous crimes, and other forms of human rights violations by a terrorist organization to achieve some kind of goal or any demand or to dictate a region based on the rules set by them leading to the humanitarian and refugee crisis, a recent example of such an inhuman act led by a terrorist group is the recapturing of almost the whole of Afghanistan by Taliban terrorists, despite the presence of major counterterrorism organizations at global level spine chilling terrorist activities, take place in different parts of the world unhindered leaving the whole world fear-stricken. To save lives and personal rights, the only way out of such a the situation left for the citizens is to run away and take shelter in a safer place, most of them seek shelters in neighboring countries where they do not have to face oppression and persecution. Many of those refugees have sought to live as illegal immigrants who are in desperate need of shelters, and other basic needs and have adopted a life full of restrictions as to their fate in a foreign land which seems far better than constantly surviving under the fear of persecution. Most of the countries do make shelter homes for temporary living for the refugees as humanitarian aid but there is uncertainty for their future. Isn’t living as an illegal immigrant also puts them in danger of being thrown out of the land on being caught? What promises a bright future with great opportunities for such people? Is it the temporary shelter homes that can provide them their fundamental rights and all of the other necessities? The simple answer to such questions is a plain no, a human being needs a healthy environment to grow mentally, physically, and individually as a person, which includes all of the basic necessities and importantly all of the fundamental rights to have a happy and normal life which is not possible while living as an illegal immigrant or refugee in shelter homes. So what is the way to give them a normal life? The answer to this question is citizenship.
To ensure equal access to critically important benefits for the people residing in the nation, citizenship is important. Citizenship is the relationship between the individual and a state to which the individual owes allegiance and in turn, is entitled to its protection.
Citizenship implies the status of freedom with accompanying responsibilities. Citizens have certain rights, duties, and responsibilities that are denied or only partially extended to aliens and other noncitizens residing in a country. In general, full political rights, including the right to vote and to hold public offices, are predicated upon citizenship.
Since citizenship holds so much importance for a man to live in a nation, all those who want to settle down in a country else than their native country tries and seek citizenship, every country have their provisions regarding citizenship.
In India, there are citizenship laws enacted to grant citizenship to foreigners by registration or naturalization. If they follow all of the necessary conditions mentioned
in the provisions, but for the illegal immigrants there were no such provisions they are considered foreign citizens without valid documentation or have overstayed from the permitted time, thus they are not eligible for the Indian citizenship as per the general provisions of the Indian citizenship act as amended in 2003, illegal immigration is considered a punishable offense that imposes imprisonment for 2-8 years and is also liable for a fine.
For refugees in India, there are no specified statutory books and laws to govern refugees in the state, India is not a signatory to the 1951 UN Convention or 1967 Protocols but it is a signatory to a number of United Nations and World Conventions on Human rights, refugee issues, and related matters.
A law related to refugees was not in existence until the year 2019 as the Citizenship Amendment Act was passed.
CITIZENSHIP AMENDMENT ACT, 2019 and other citizenship provisions
On 9 December 2019 citizenship amendment act was introduced in parliament by the BJP led government, Mr. Amit Shah Minister of Home affairs introduced the bill in parliament it was passed on 11 December 2019 it became effective on 10 January 2020, the act has amended the citizenship act of 1995, it promises citizenship for minority groups of three neighboring countries namely Bangladesh, Afghanistan, and Pakistan. The act gives eligibility for Indian citizenship to illegal migrants who are Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis, and Christians from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, and Pakistan and who entered India on or before 31 December 2014.
The citizenship amendment act assures Indian citizenship to the migrants of Afghanistan, Bangladesh, and Pakistan who belong to non-Muslim minority religions in those countries, who migrated due to religious persecution or the fear of religious persecution faced by them in their native place. The amendment also relaxed the residence requirement for naturalization of these migrants from twelve years to six.. The act also exempts the tribal areas of Assam, Tripura, and Meghalaya from its applicability and the areas regulated through the inner line permit, which includes Arunachala Pradesh, Mizoram, and Nagaland.
The exemption of these states have caused huge protests in different parts of the country causing confusion, anger, and a state of panic among the citizens gaining much criticism due to some false information and lack of information propagated in the minds of local citizens, the raging citizens are protesting due to the fear of being deported for not having full documentation, while it was being clarified by many means that no Indian citizen would be deported and denied their right of citizenship that there is no need of fear and panic among the general public, after some time due to the corona pandemic the protest was stopped as the nationwide lockdown was imposed for the safety of the citizens.
The bill introduces a new provision for cancellation of the registration of the Overseas Citizenship of India (OCI) if ere are any violations of any law of India ,This provision says that it does not matter how small or petty violation of law has been done the only thing that matters as to the provision is that there has been some kind of violation of any law of India and on that basis the cancellation of the overseas citizenship of India of the person has to be done. .
The act does not include Muslims as eligible candidates for citizenship from the same countries as these are Muslim majority countries and citizenship is being granted to the refugees who have been persecuted based on their religion or had fear of persecution, thus calling it an anti-Muslim and discriminatory law which gained worldwide criticism. There have been huge protests in the northeastern states especially Assam, and many other parts of the nation.
According to the records, there have been 300,000 refugees welcomed in India in the past and on the date. According to Intelligence bureau records, the immediate beneficiaries of the act will be 31,313 people which include 25,447 Hindus, 5,307 Sikhs, 55 Christians, 2 Buddhists and 2 Parsis.
The act is termed as restrictive instead of refugee handling policy as it includes a time limit in it’s provisions to be eligible to get citizenship while the government has tried to combat the situation by the issuance of e-visas and citizenship at fast pace still there is a ongoing demand for increasing the scope of the act although it enables undocumented non-Muslim illegal immigrants from the neighboring Muslim nations to apply for Indian citizenship and live their lives peacefully.
Constitutional Provisions related to Citizenship
Article 5 under part 2 of the Indian constitution says that all people who were resident at the time of commencement of the constitution were the citizens of India as well as the people born in India.
Article 6. It says that fulfillment of certain conditions is necessary to be an Indian citizen:- Person born in India.
Either of the Parent of the person born in India. Person living in India for more than five year.
In the case of Mohd. Reza Debestani v. State of Bombay, rejected appellants request for Indian citizenship, after several years of with his uncle appellant returned to Iraq on pilgrimage. Then he was permitted to stay in India for years with repeated extension. But rejected and thus he prayed for it.. He got back to Iraq and got employed in a job , this fact was sufficient to not to be granted citizenship of India according to the provisions made.
When a Pakistani immigrant in the territory of India, would be permitted to a right of citizenship under these circumstance
If the person’s parents or grandparents were originated from India, according to the Government of India Act,1935
If a someone has departed from Pakistan and is ordinarily living in India before the 19th day of July 1948
In the case of Kulathil Mammu v. State of Kerela, the definition of term Migration . It was held that the term implies willingly and eternally leaving from India to Pakistan.
If an individual has departed to the territories of Pakistan after the first day of March 1947, shall not be deemed as a citizen of India.
An individual who has departed to the Pakistan territory and then returns back with the approval from the requisite authority.
In the case of State of Bihar v Kumar Amar Singh, the wife went to Karachi leaving her husband. According to her statement, she went to Karachi temporarily for medication. Then she approval to stay in India after coming back on stating that she is Pakistani Domicile. She returned back to Pakistan on the expiration of the period. . On the property in India was being taken into custody she asked for a permanent Indian citizenship. She was denied for the same as she migrated early from the date.
If an individual is living in a different nation but either of the parents or grandparents were born in the Indian territory and if the person is recorded as a resident of India by the diplomatic or consular representative of India, shall be deemed as a citizen of India.
Article 9 If an individual has willing accepted the citizenship of any Foreign Country, then the individual would not be deemed as a citizen of India.
In the case of State of U.P. v. Rehmatullah, it was held that the Central Government is authorized to take action against people who have acquired the foreign citizenship and have lost the citizenship of India, but they are still residing in the country.
When an individual is deemed as a citizen of India under the provisions provided, the person would continue to be a citizen if also new provisions are made by the Parliament.
In the case of Ebrahim Vazir Mavat v State of Bombay, the constitutional validity of the Influx from Pakistan Control Act,1949 was put forward .This act provided that when a person has the domicile of either India or Pakistan, is not allowed to enter the premises of the above stated countries without authorization.. And if any individual does not follow the rule then he would be condemned of the offence illustrated in the act. According to Section 7, a person can be denied citizenship by the Central Government under certain condition
It was held that under Section 7 of the Constitution of India a person removed from the nation would amount to a denial of the right of citizenship as cited in Part II of the constitution.
It says that Parliament’s power can’t be prohibited to make any provision on termination or acquisition of citizenship and all other subjects related to citizenship.
As to conclude, the citizenship amendment act, 2019 does extend a helping hand for the refugees facing religious persecution or the fear of religious persecution of the non-Muslim religions like Hindus, Sikhs, Christians, Jains, and Parsis belonging to Muslim majority neighboring nations especially Afghanistan in times of crisis by providing e-visa facilities and fast tracking citizenship for them but the scope of it is a bit restrictive as there is a time period applicability for it ,which is the entrance in India before 2015, that’s why it is not much of a help in the ongoing crisis right now in the state of Afghanistan as the problem is huge than the scope the citizenship amendment act , many people have asked for the extension of the scope of CAA so that it can be of more help to refugees, and as for the worldwide criticism received for being based on the religion thus called as anti-Muslim and discriminatory law, the law is being based on non-Muslim religions coming from Muslim majority countries where Muslims are in majority and do not need to fear persecution. To actually help the refugees whole world should join hands in order to provide them shelter by welcoming them in the nation.
There are a lots of different refugee communities residing in India from different nations, India needs to start regularizing the already residing refugee communities without proper documentation and rights as a citizen, for that India needs proper immigration and strong refugee policy.
Author: ANUSHKA VERMA, CHANDRA PRABHU JAIN COLLEGE OF LAW, INDRAPRASTHA UNIVERSITY
Editor: Kanishka Vaish, Senior Editor, LexLife India.Advertisements