NEW DELHI: The central government has told the Supreme Court that the controversial citizenship amendment act (CAA) does not violate the provisions of the Assam Accord.

The CAA also do not violate the cultural rights of the people of Assam and the Northeast in whole, the central government told the Supreme Court.

The ministry of home affairs (MHA), in the Supreme Court, said that “there is no provision in CAA, which would affect the distinct language, script or culture of citizens of Assam and other Northeast states”.

The MHA made this claim in an additional counter-affidavit that it filed in the Supreme Court addressing the concerns of the Northeast states in relation to the CAA.

The central government stated that the CAA does not encourage influx of migrants and applies only to persons who entered India before the cut-off date of December 31, 2014.

In fact the CAA, the central government explained, is intended to protect people belonging to Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, Parsi or Christian communities who migrated from Afghanistan, Bangladesh or Pakistan.

“It is submitted that CAA does not encourage any future influx of foreigners into India as it applies to past events and has no application in future,” the MHA stated in its counter affidavit.

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The MHA added that to “uphold the spirit of Article 29 and keeping in view the concerns of the North Eastern States including Assam, a specific provision has been included in sub-section (4) of section 6B inserted by the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 1955 to the effect that nothing in this section shall apply to tribal area of Assam, Meghalaya, Mizoram or Tripura as included in the Sixth Schedule to the Constitution and the area covered under ‘The Inner Line’ notified under the Bengal Eastern Frontier Regulation, 1873”.

“It is, therefore, respectfully submitted that specific concerns with regard to Assam and the other North Eastern States have been taken into consideration by the legislature while enacting the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2019 and the provisions in the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2019 do not in any way violate the provisions of the Assam Accord or section 6A of the Citizenship Act, 1955.”

“It is submitted that the tribal areas of Assam and Tripura, which are the most vulnerable in terms of scant indigenous population, are falling within the excluded areas of the CAA. It is submitted that the said portions of Assam and Tripura are classified at par with the entire states of Mizoram, Manipur and Arunachal Pradesh and almost entire states of Nagaland & Meghalaya being equally placed. It is submitted that with regard to the avowed object of the exclusion of certain areas from the CAA in order to protect the ethnic/linguistic rights and to protect them from getting swamped by large scale influx of migrants, the inclusion of non-tribal areas of Assam and Tripura in the CAA is not discriminatory as the said areas are not as thinly populated as other excluded areas and would not face the same consequences in case of immigration of persons,” the affidavit stated.

The Supreme Court will hear a batch of petitions challenging the CAA on December 6.

Meanwhile, the Supreme Court has also asked Assam and Tripura governments to file a response within two weeks in matters specifically concerning both the state governments. 

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