A Panel Discussion: The Constitution vs the Politics of Citizenship

What would a constitutionally valid CAA look like? — Alok Prasanna Kumar 

The talk focuses on whether there is a constitutional route to creating a pathway to citizenship for illegal migrants” and the boundary conditions of such an exercise keeping in mind the history of migration and conflict over migration in India. To this end, the talk will address two questions: What are the potential consequences of the SC holding that the CAA is unconstitutional (and the different ways it could hold it unconstitutional)? What could be an acceptable set of legislative changes to the CAA? I’m hoping that with this presentation, that the conversation can move from a beda” to a beku” in the context of the CAA.

Citizenship, Othering and the Constitution — Malavika Prasad

The talk contextualize citizenship by unpacking the usage of binaries such as citizen vs. Illegal migrant, and citizen vs. refugee, and whether these oppositional constructs find their bases in Indian law. It examines how the meaning and criteria for qualifying as a citizen have changed over the years, culminating in the CAA.

Historical and Comparative Perspectives on Citizenship — Arun K Thiruvengadam

The talk will focus on historical and comparative perspectives on citizenship issues, drawing from South Asia and Europe in particular, both of which are regions that are wracked by migration crises’. I will also draw upon the ongoing Rohingya litigation before the SC and will focus on the stance adopted by this government in particular to make sense of its stance in the CAA


Alok Prasanna Kumar is Senior Resident Fellow and Team Lead, Vidhi Karnataka. His areas of research include Judicial Reforms, Constitutional law, Urban Development, and Law and Technology. He graduated with a B.A. LL.B. (Hons) from the NALSAR University in 2008 and obtained the BCL from the University of Oxford in 2009. He writes a monthly column for the Economic and Political Weekly and has published in the Indian Journal of Constitutional Law and National Law School of India Review apart from media outlets such as The Hindu, Indian Express, Scroll, Quint and Caravan. He has practiced in the Supreme Court and Delhi High Court from the chambers of Mr Mohan Parasaran, and currently also co-hosts the Ganatantra podcast on IVM Podcasts.

Malavika Prasad is an advocate and doctoral fellow at Nalsar University of Law. Her goal is to understand and help bridge the gulf between the Constitution of India and the constitution of India. Towards this, she studies constitutional claims made by and between actors outside the court-system. She also teaches Law and Science at the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore. Previously, she has worked on both sides of the Bar, clerking for a judge of the Delhi High Court, and as an advocate in the Supreme Court of India and other courts. She holds degrees from the Nalsar University of Law and the University of Michigan Law School as a Grotius Fellow.

Arun K. Thiruvengadam is a Professor of Law at the School of Policy and Governance, Azim Premji University where he teaches courses on Comparative Constitutional Law, Law and Development, and Welfare Rights in India. His book, The Constitution of India: A contextual analysis (Hart UK/​Bloomsbury India, 2017) has been cited by the Indian Supreme Court and by academic works within India and beyond. He is the co-author of the India Country Report on Citizenship (2017) for the Global Citizenship Observatory (GLOBALCIT), an online database of citizenship laws, which was subsequently published in book form in 2018. 

Vishnupad is a cultural anthropologist at the School of Policy and Governance, Azim Premji University with interest in themes of law and politics. Currently he is working on the Constituent Assembly Debates. He received his doctorate from the Department of Anthropology, Columbia University.