14, Dec 2022
Prelims level : Governance - Institutional Reforms Mains level : GS-II Functions and responsibilities of the Union and the States, issues and challenges pertaining to the federal structure, devolution of powers and finances up to local levels and challenges therein.
Why in News?
- A Constitution Bench on Tuesday listed for January 10, 2023 a series of long-pending petitions challenging Section 6A of the Citizenship Act, 1955 which allows citizenship to illegal immigrants, mostly from neighbouring Bangladesh, who entered Assam before March 1971.
What is the Section 6A of the Citizenship Act, 1955?
- The section 6A in the Citizenship Act, 1955 contains the provisions with respect to citizenship of persons covered by the Assam Accord (1985).
- This section was introduced through an amendment made in 1985, in the Citizenship Act, 1955. The section 6A of the act says that all those who came to Assam on or after 1 January, 1966, but before 25th March, 1971 from the specified territory (it includes all territories of Bangladesh at the time of commencement of the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 1985), and since then are residents of Assam, must register themselves under section-18 for citizenship.
- Therefore, this act fixes March 25, 1971 as the cut-off date for granting citizenship to Bangladeshi migrants in Assam.
What is Assam Accord?
- 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.
- The accord brought an end to the Assam Agitation and paved the way for the leaders of the agitation to form a political party and form a government in the state of Assam soon after.
- As per the Accord, those Bangladeshis who came between 1966 and 1971 will be barred from voting for ten years. The Accord also mentions that the international borders will be sealed and all persons who crossed over from Bangladesh after 1971 are to be deported.
- Though the accord brought an end to the agitation, some of the key clauses are yet to be implemented, which has kept some of the issues festering.