Nearly a thousand students of premier National Law Universities, Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs), Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs) and other national institutes have extended their support to the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and have condemned the violent protests across the country in a joint statement. The Bill was passed by Parliament on December 11 and became an Act after receiving the President's assent on December 12. The Act provides citizenship to persecuted religious minorities of Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Bangladesh who came to India before December 31, 2014.
"We hereby express our support for the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2019 passed by the Parliament of India. We having been shocked, agonized and exasperated at the intimidating, violent and divisive protests being carried out by elements with vested interests and also express our condemnation to these events."
Shubham Tiwari from Hyderabad's National Academy of Legal Studies and Research (NALSAR) said that the CAA is a narrow-tailored law which makes reasonable classification amongst illegal immigrants on the basis of religious persecution in neighbouring theocratic states. "In light of the events that have transpired across the country since the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2019 was tabled for discussion and deliberation in the Parliament, we believe that in the name of opposing the law, an environment of lawlessness and chaos is being created threatening the law and order of the country," Tiwari added that numerous instances of forced conversion, abduction, rape, and killings of minorities were happening in Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Afghanistan. He argued that hence such minorities require humanitarian support which this Act provides for.
"The Parliament has all the legislative competence as citizenship falls under the union list of matters. The Act is neither in violation of Articles 14 and 21 nor is it beyond the legislative competence of the Parliament. Hence, the Act cannot be labelled as being unconstitutional. It doesn’t invite new people from these three countries rather recognise only those as citizens who have entered the country till December 31, 2014. Such recognition of citizenship has happened during previous regimes too."
Om Priyadarshi of NIT Rourkela said, "In case of any Parliamentary legislation, there is a strong rebuttable presumption in favour of the constitutionality of the statute. So, unless the constitutional courts hold it to be unconstitutional on either of the grounds (i.e. for being ultra vires the legislative competence of Parliament or for violation of Basic Structure), such a statue shall be the law of the land."
Rahul Gadkari from IIT Delhi asserted that the Act will not harm the Assam Accord as Home Minister Amit Shah has made that clear in Parliament. "The application of the Inner Line Permit clearly indicates the intention of the government to preserve the culture and identity of northeastern states. Vested interests are fueling the unrest in North-eastern states to suit their own agenda and misinformation about the act is being spread." Gadkari also appealed citizens to avoid engaging in activities breaching public order, causing violence, and restore normalcy. "We request the Union Government and respective State Governments to ensure that academic activities are not stalled in the campuses and carried out seamlessly," the student said.