It is really hard to believe that there could be a list of controversial laws of constitution. Indian Constitution is one of the most sophisticated constitution in the whole world. Our constitution took nearly 2 years to complete under the guidance of Dr. B.R. Ambedkar. It adopted the values of several constitution which were in existence at that time. This helped us enormously but also gave birth to controversial laws of constitution.
The makers were able to look into every aspect of the newly independent India and tried to promote unity, equality, secularity and brotherhood. But one thing which everyone must agree to, is that time brings changes with it. The constitution was adopted in 1950 and it has been 70 years and maybe some changes are in due. With the changing times, the values of our society have also evolved along with the mindset of people. These things lead to questioning of some of the controversial laws of constitution. Check out the list of 7 Most Controversial Laws of Constitution and see for yourself if you agree or not.
The Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA)
The first law on our list of 7 Most Controversial Laws of Constitution is CAA. This has been one of the most controversial laws of constitution in recent times. The riots which took in the aftermath of this law, tore down the northern part of the country, especially the Capital. It was for the first time in the history of independent India, that religion was being used as a legal criterion, for deciding refuge and nationality.
As per this Act, Indian citizenship will be accorded to religious minorities of Afghanistan, Bangladesh, and Pakistan, who have been victims of religious persecution in their native country. The Act specifies that the religious minorities must be either Hindus, Buddhists, Christians, Jains, Parsis, or Sikhs, i.e. people of only non-Muslim faith. Immigrants who entered India before 2015, will also no longer be considered as unlawful settlers. The Act also provides protection to such refugees, tackling any legal cases after being discovered as illegal drifters.
As per the new law, the undocumented refugees must have inhabited in India, in the last one year and for at least six years in total, to meet the requirements for citizenship; in contrast, the 1955 law stipulates 12 years’ residency as a prerequisite.
This Act is being claimed to be in violation of the secular ideology of India and its constitution. The new law raises many valid questions and further induces questions about the intent of the government, which is certainly not popular for its secular philosophy.
Recognition of Property Rights of Residents in Unauthorized Colonies Act, 2019
Next on our list of 7 Most Controversial Laws of Constitution, we have Recognition of Property Rights of Residents in Unauthorized Colonies Act, 2019.
According to Gazette of India, “An Act to provide special provisions for the National Capital Territory of Delhi for recognizing the property rights of resident in unauthorized colonies by securing the rights of ownership or transfer or mortgage in favor of the residents of such colonies who are possessing properties on the basis of Power of Attorney, Agreement to Sale, Will, possession letter or any other documents including documents evidencing payment of consideration and for the matters connected therewith or incidental thereto”.
Of the nearly 1.2 crore people that reside in Delhi, around 40 lakh live in unauthorized colonies that are spread across the vast 175 square-km landmasses of Delhi. Regularization of such unauthorized colonies has forever been a rickety undertaking as the succeeding governments have hesitated to make the last call.
42nd Amendment Of The Constitution
Imposed by the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi during time of The Emergency, it attempted to reduce the power of the Supreme Court and High Courts to pronounce upon the constitutional validity of laws. It even changed the description of India in Preamble from “sovereign democratic republic” to a “sovereign, socialist secular democratic republic”. This faced widespread criticism and India was in turmoil for three years. Janta party after coming to power imprisoned Indira Gandhi and changed this amendment though not with full success. These incidents led to implementation of one of the most controversial laws of constitution. Some experts even say that Indian democracy saw its darkest phase due to this law.
Section 377, a British-era law, criminalized any form of intercourse that was non conventional, deeming it to be “against the course of nature”. Also, it discouraged and punished same sex relationships and undermined the value and respect of the people of LGBT community. But thanks to the Supreme Court, this controversial law of the constitution was scraped.
“LGBT Community has same rights as of any ordinary citizen. Respect for individual choice is the essence of liberty; Criminalizing gay sex is irrational and indefensible,” said the former Chief Justice Dipak Misra in his verdict.
The Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Act, 2019
Remember the time when a guy had to pay the road fine 22000 INR while his scooter was itself valued at 12000 INR. This was possible due to the Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Act. India, as a signatory to the Brasilia Declaration on Road Safety of 2015, intended to decrease road accidents and reduce traffic casualties by 2022. And thus the amendments to the Motor Vehicles Act were acted out. But the things didn’t go well with the common citizens of the country.
This controversial law of constitution proved to be a major cause of upheaval in the lives of numerous people, after most of the amendments came into effect from September 01, 2019. This meant that driving faults made enormous blows in monthly budgets. Under this act, penalties were increased multi-fold.
On our list of 7 Most Controversial Laws of Constitution, Article 370 is probably the one law, which has given too much trouble. It gave autonomous status to the state of Jammu and Kashmir. It stipulates that the other articles of the Constitution that gave powers to the Central Government would be applied to Jammu and Kashmir only with the concurrence of the State’s constituent assembly.
There have been long standing debates in favor and against the scraping of this article. But Modi government anyways scraped the law declaring J&K as an integral part of the Union of India thus giving deciding the fate of one of the most controversial laws of constitution.
Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA)
AFSPA was enacted to bring under control what the government of India considered disturbed areas. The Central government empowered the governors of the states and administrators of Union Territories to take a call whether the areas of that particular state or union territory is disturbed or not.
Many security experts bat for AFSPA whereas scores of academia, and human right activist, call for its abolition. Thus confirming its entry in the list of 7 Most Controversial Laws of Constitution. They argue that since armed forces misuse the provisions to kill people, the immunity given under AFSPA to armed forces personnel should be ended. AFSPA has been implemented in the north-eastern states, Punjab and Jammu & Kashmir.
Our faith on our constitution determines our feeling of nationality in the truest sense possible. Despite having read this list of 7 Most Controversial Laws of Constitution, our faith should never weaken. We should always hope for changes for the greater good.