Public Administration Mains 2020 : Model Question and Answer - 112

(Public Administration Paper II / Chapter: Union Government and Administration)

(Current Based) Question : Citizenship Bill conform to India’s constitutional spirit and does not violate Article 14. Comment (15 Marks/250 words)

Model Answer :

The Citizenship Bill is a manifestation of a constitutional promise made to those who have suffered in the aftermath of Partition and its consequences. Many doubts have been cast on the legality of the Bill. However, the Bill does conform to India’s constitutional spirit.

An examination of the text of Article 11 of the Indian Constitution reveals that Parliament is empowered to make any law relating to the acquisition or termination of citizenship and all other matters relating to citizenship. The legislation is free to recognize degrees of harm and may confine its restriction to those cases where the need is deemed to be the clearest.

Article 14 has both a positive and a negative aspect. It provides for equal protection of the law in its positive aspect. In the negative aspect of “equality before law”, what necessarily follows is that those in unequal positions ought not to be treated equally. The exception to Article 14 is broadly the test of reasonable classification and intelligible differentia. The Citizenship Bill stands the test of reasonable classification as propounded by the seven-judge Bench of the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India in the case of State of West Bengal vs. Anwar Ali Sarkar.

The provisions of the Bill appear to have made a classification based on the fact of minority communities being persecuted in the specified countries on the basis of their religion and leaving their country without valid travel documents. By introducing this Bill the Indian state is enforcing a positive discrimination which is necessary, expedient and legally and constitutionally permissible. (Total Words- 259)

(Linkages :Citizenship Bill and Constitution ; Citizenship Bill and Article 14; Citizenship Bill and Minority Community)

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