Subverting Constitution

CAA Assam

While on Karan Thapar’s show two distinguished advocates are seen arguing whether the CAA is constitutionally valid or not, it seems arguable enough that it is the actually the most cavalier and blatant travesty on our Constitution. A law that is in the last analysis founded on the basic premises and principles of the Constitution should at least have the appearance of being so.But the rules framed to give body to the abstract direction of this law make a mockery  of those premises.

Recently the Home Minister spoke on the issue and explained  that the Christians and Buddhists in countries like Afghanistan had once belonged to parts of Akhand Bharat.Hence such people have some sort of a right of refuge in what remains of that Bharat.But the favoured groups include Parsee community.Does he mean that Persia or Iran had also once been Part of Akhand Bharat?What about Europe that had seen in 2000-1500 BC  a massive and aggressive migration of Indo-Europeans  and eventually formed the main races of its countries?

Too deep to fathom.

And why did those who are being subjected to debasement and humiliation in the  name of religion in  Afghanistan,Pakistan and Bangladesh not make a mass exodus from those lands to India?

Were they prevented by certain circumstances or constraints imposed by governments? No.The primary reason was that they had been quite reluctant to leave what down from the days of their ancestors they had known as their home.The duty of the Indian government should have been to ensure that their devout wish should be honored.Instead of which our government urges them to ‘return’ to regions that are not home to them.This can be done by raising the issue with governments concerned and international fora. And this is being done by introducing the thinnest of figleafs to cover up naked caricatures of the solemn words of the Constitution.

After all citizenship is not a trivial matter.A foreigner has to wait for eleven years and pass rigorous tests,produce authentic documents to be eligible.But under CAA not only is the period of waiting reduced to 5 years,the rules themselves now ensure that virtually  no one is denied that privilege.There is a concealed racial or communal bias here,as in Israel.If the Christians are presumed to be converted  natives of Akhand Bharat,pray on what ground some Muslims may be refused such native origins?

Consider the rules too,which trivialise the issue.In order to prove country of origin and the date of escape from alleged persecution the applicant only has to produce such documents as a certificate from the school he had attended.Or certificate from a rural council etc. A signature and a seal with a rubber stamp will suffice to produce one such certificate and these can be multiplied at will by even an unskilled forger.To make it even more convenient it does not matter if the date had expired.

As a member of a selection committee for third and fourth grade jobs in a chain of schools I had come across such certificates dated 31st April and December, probably  in return for unsatisfactory monetary reward to the forger.And given the fact that the empowered committees are manned by government employees,one could anticipate mass endorsement of spurious documents at the rate of thousands a week.And above all unlike SBI in another context there will be little difficulty in matching the time of exit of many applicants from the country of origin to periods of religious violence there. All this turns the whole exercise into a farce,and to talk about Constitution in this context is just poppycock.

 Hiren Gohain is a political commentator

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