Follow Us:

Assam Accord: SC to hear challenge to Sec 6A of Citizenship Act

Sec 6A was incorporated by an amendment in 1985 in pursuance to the Assam accord for granting citizenship to the migrants from Bangladeshi who had crossed over to India before the cut-off date of March 25, 1971.

Statesman News Service | New Delhi | Updated :

The Supreme Court, on Tuesday, decided to hear on January 10, 2023 pleas challenging the constitutional validity of Section 6A of the Citizenship Act that was incorporated by an amendment in 1985 in pursuance to the Assam accord for granting citizenship to the migrants from Bangladeshi who had crossed over to India before the cut-off date of March 25, 1971.

The Assam Accord was signed between All Assam Students Union and the Central government on August 15, 1985.

Posting the matter for hearing on January 10, a five-judge constitution bench comprising Chief Justice D.Y. Chandrachud, Justice M R Shah, Justice Krishna Murari, Justice Hima Kohli and Justice Pamidighantam Sri Narasimha to set apart the issues arising in different partitions into distinct categories.

The hearing on the validity of Section 6A of the Citizenship Act is rooted in December 14, 2017, reference by a two-judge bench comprising Justice Ranjan Gogoi (who went on to become Chief Justice of India and has since retired) and Justice Rohinton Fali Nariman. Justice Ranjan Gogoi went on to become Chief Justice of India and has since retired.

The bench of Justice Gogoi and Justice Nariman had framed 13 question for adjudication by five-judge constitution bench  that included whether  Section 6A which was incorporated in pursuance to Assam accord violated  Article 6, Article 14, Article 21, Article 29(1) Article 355, basic premise of the Constitution and the Citizenship Act and the rule of law.

One of the questions referred to the constitution bench was “whether Articles 10 and 11 of the Constitution of India permit the enactment of Section 6A of the Citizenship Act in as much as Section 6A, in prescribing a cut-off date different from the cut-off date prescribed in Article 6, can do so without a “variation” of Article 6 itself.”

Subsequently, the same bench had on July 21, 2015, referred to a constitution bench a question: whether a child born in India to illegal migrants would be considered as a citizen of India or not.

The question was referred to the constitution bench in the context of the citizenship status of children born to illegal Bangladeshi immigrants in Assam.

The Section 3 of the Citizenship Act provides for citizenship by birth.

Assam Sanmilita Mahasangha, a Guwahati based NGO along with others had challenged Section 6A way back in 2012 contending that Section 6A is discriminatory, arbitrary and illegal so far as it provides for different cut-off dates for regularising illegal migrant who entered Assam and the rest of India.

The Bangladesh liberation war which led to the independence of Bangladesh from Pakistan, witnessed a massive influx of migrants to India. Even prior to when Bangladesh gained independence from East Pakistan in 1971, migration had started to India.

On March 19, 1972, Bangladesh and India entered into a treaty for friendship, cooperation and peace.