Former Union Finance Minister Yashwant Sinha questioned the need to bring the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) when the original law already gave powers to the government to grant citizenship to immigrants. Sinha, a vocal critic of the Modi government who quit the BJP in 2018, cited the example of Padma Shri awardee Adnan Sami and interim Congress president Sonia Gandhi of having received Indian citizenship without "religion-based" CAA.
Speaking at a press conference in Lucknow alongside Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav, Sinha pointed to three things that he said were the main reasons behind opposing the CAA. "Firstly, this law is against the basic structure of the Constitution. Second, it is very important to note that there was no need to bring such an amendment in the citizenship law because the Government of India already had the power to grant citizenship to anybody it wished."
He added, "Adnan Sami got his citizenship and now he has been awarded Padma Shri. Similarly, even people like Bade Ghulam Ali Khan and even Sonia Gandhi were given citizenship. This government gave citizenship to thousands of people in the last five years; so what is the need to do this based on religion now?"
Singer Adnan Sami became an Indian citizen in January 2016, under the ‘citizenship by naturalisation’ category of the Citizenship Act, 1955. Whereas, Sonia Gandhi got her Indian citizenship in April 1983 after she renounced her Italian one.
The third thing that according to Yashwant Sinha is a flaw in CAA is the words used in the law's text. "The text of the law makes its implementation not possible and perhaps that's what the government hopes for in order to keep things vague. I read in a newspaper that a collector from UP's Pilibhit said that they have already identified 37,000 people to be given citizenship. Rules haven't been made nor any application has arrived. Citizenship will be granted to an individual, not a city, district or community. CAA says one needs to apply for citizenship but in UP, the government has already identified the beneficiaries."
On Sunday, senior Congress leader Digvijaya Singh too questioned the Centre on the necessity of introducing the Citizenship Amendment Act. Congratulating famous singer Adnan Sami on being bestowed the Padma Shri award, Singh claimed that he had himself requested the Centre to grant him Indian citizenship. According to Singh, Sami’s case indicated that the government always had the right to give citizenship to any person irrespective of religion. Thereafter, he alleged that the sole purpose of the CAA was to create polarization in the Indian polity.