Citizenship and Related Issues

New Constitution Bench to examine Citizenship Act


Mains Paper 2: Polity | Structure, organization & functioning of the Executive & the Judiciary

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Citizenship Act 1955, Assam Accord, Article 29(1) of Constitution

Mains level: Important provisions of Citizenship Act

Examining cut-off date for awarding citizenship

  1. The Supreme Court decided to refer to a fresh Constitution Bench pleas to examine the validity of various aspects of a provision of the Citizenship Act 1955
  2. This includes the cut-off date for awarding citizenship to Bangladeshi immigrants in Assam
  3. Section 6A of the Act relates to provisions for citizenship of people covered by the Assam Accord

Questioning validity of Section 6A of act

  1. SC bench will examine whether Section 6A violates the Articles of the Constitution by diluting the political rights of residents of Assam
  2. The scope of the fundamental right contained in Article 29(1), relating to the right to conserve a distinct language, script or culture, and also about the meaning of expressions ‘culture’ and ‘conserve’ will also be examined


Assam Accord

  1. The Assam Accord (1985) was a Memorandum of Settlement (MoS) signed between representatives of the Government of India and the leaders of the Assam Movement in New Delhi on 15 August 1985
  2. Some of the key demands of the movement were:
  • All those foreigners who had entered Assam between 1951 and 1961 were to be given full citizenship, including the right to vote
  • Those who had done so after 1971 were to be deported; the entrants between 1961 and 1971 were to be denied voting rights for ten years but would enjoy all other rights of citizenship

3. Though the accord brought an end to the agitation, some of the key clauses are yet to be implemented

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