What is CAA and NRC in India? What is the Connection Between Them?

Q1. What is NRC and CAA?


  • National Register of Citizens(NRC) is not based on any religion. NRC seeks to detect any illegal immigrant, regardless of their caste, creed or religion and further, detain and eventually deport them.
  • The Citizenship Amendment Act(CAA) is based on religion, immigrants- who belong to Muslim community from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan are excluded from applying for India’s citizenship.

Q2. Are both NRC and CAA nationwide?


  • Till date, NRC has been exercised only in state of Assam, on Supreme Court’s order. The NRC identified and detained illegal immigrants from foreign nationals in the State of Assam.
  • CAA is a nationwide Act and will be implemented across India. Though, Chief Minister of some states have refused to implement CAA in their states, however, the decision of implementation rests with the Centre.

Q3. How will CAA affect Indian Muslim?


  • Indian citizens irrespective of their religion, sex, caste, creed will not be deprived of their citizenship. There is no mention of Indian Muslims in CAA and no action can be taken against Indian Muslims.

Q4. What if an Indian Muslim does not have any document to prove his citizenship?


  • According to official explainer on CAA being circulated, if somebody is “illiterate” and has no documents, witness and community verification will be allowed to ensure that an Indian Citizen belonging to Muslim or any other religion is not troubled.

Q5. Does CAA violate Article 14 of the Indian Constitution?


Opposition’s Argument

  • According to opposition, CAA seeks to legally establish Muslims as second-class citizens of India and declaring India a welcome refuge to all other religious communities.
  • This violates Article 14, the fundamental right to equality to all persons. The Parliament cannot alter basic structure of the Constitution.

Government’s Argument

  • It is settled position of law in India that while Article 14 forbids class legislation, it does not forbid reasonable classification for the purpose of the legislation. To pass the test of permissible classification, two conditions must be fulfilled- (i) that the classification must be founded on an intelligible differentia (ii) that that differentia must have a rational relation to the object sought to be achieved by the statute in question.
  • Thus, bill makes classification on the fact that minority communities are being persecuted in some countries on the basis of their religion and leaving their country without valid travel documents. Thus, by allowing minority communities from Muslim-majority countries of Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan- the CAA is enforcing positive discrimination which is necessary and legally and constitutionally permissible.

Q6. Is CAA applicable in north-eastern states?


  • CAA won’t apply to tribal area of Assam, Meghalaya, Tripura or Mizoram as included in the Sixth Schedule of the Constitution.
  • The bill will also not apply to states that have the inner-line permit regime (Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland and Mizoram).

Q7. Is CAA applicable in Assam? Why is Assam protesting?


  • Though tribal areas of Assam have been exempted from applicability of CAA; act still covers a large part of Assam. The protest stem from the fear that illegal Bengal Hindu migrants from Bangladesh, under CAA, will threaten culture and linguistic identities of the state.

Q8. What all documents will be needed by an Indian Citizens to prove his/her citizenship?


  • According to official sources, Indian Nationality can be proved by submitting documents related to an individual’s date of birth and place of birth.
  • Final decision on acceptable documents is yet to be taken. It will likely include- voter cards, passports, Aadhar, licenses, insurance papers, school leaving certificates, documents relating to land or home or other similar documents issued by government officials.
  • There will be “no compulsion” to submit any document for pre-1971 genealogy as such condition was specific to NRC exercise in Assam only.
  • The list is likely to include more documents so that no Indian citizen suffer unnecessarily, according to official sources.

Q9. How will verification of documents take place under CAA?


  • Simply handing the documents isn’t enough, the local registrar will scrutinize them and list of doubtful entries will be made. Under the Citizenship Amendment Act, there is no listed criteria for the basis on which the registrar may make such a determination.
  • Indian Muslims fear rightly, that local authorities will discriminate against them.
  • There is well-founded fear of administrative arbitrariness and bribe-seeking. The rules do not specify how the registrar will determine legitimacy or otherwise of a claim.

Q10. What will happen to people who cannot claim citizenship as per this Act?


  • The implications have not been enumerated in the Act. If Assam is taken as an example, it can be inferred that such persons will find themselves detained in detention camps.

Q11. What is cut-off date under CAA?


  • According to CAA, those non-Muslim migrants who entered India within December 31, 2020 will get Indian citizenship.

Q12. Do people need to prove ancestry dating back before 1971?


  • Government claims that, for pre-1971 genealogy, no document needs to be submitted and it was valid only for Assam NRC.
  • For the rest of the country. The NRC process is completely different and as under The Citizenship (Registration of Citizens and Issue of National Identity Cards) Rules, 2003.

Q13. What will government do post protest?


  • The president gave his assent to the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2020, on 12 December, a day after it was passed by the Rajya Sabha.
  • However, no notification with respect to operation of the act has been released.
  • The petitions against the Act are listed for hearing on 22 January before Supreme Court. Apex Court has not passed stay order on CAA, the home ministry thus, can notify rules about operation of the act.

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