The Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2019 (CAA) is unconstitutional as it involves the grant of citizenship on the basis of religion, opined former Supreme Court Judge, Justice V Gopala Gowda on Friday during a book launch. .Justice Gowda recalled that the founding fathers of the Constitution had earlier rejected the idea of granting citizenship on the basis of religion. "This is what has been done under the Citizenship Amendment Act of 2019.".Justice Gowda recounted that PS Deshmukh, a member of the Constituent Assembly had proposed an amendment to the draft Constitutional provisions concerning citizenship so that all Hindus and Sikhs were given citizenship. ."In his (Deshmukh's) opinion, the Constituent Assembly was going too far in this business of secularism. In his speech, he had said, 'Does it mean that we must wipe out our own people, that we must wipe them out in order to prove our secularism, that we must wipe out Hindus and Sikhs under the name of secularism, that we must undermine everything that is sacred and dear to the Indians to prove that we are secular?'.".Shri Shibban Lal Saxena, yet another distinguished member of the assembly, joined in with support and said, ‘Hindus and Sikhs have no other home but India. The phrase ‘secular’ should not frighten us in saying what is a fact, reality must be faced’," Justice Gowda recounted. .The proposal was, however, opposed by Nehru and Alladi Krishna Iyyer, Justice Gowda observed."Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, the first Prime Minister of this great country, is said to have interjected in observing ‘The adoption of a secular approach in respect of citizenship was not generosity, but just something which every country does except a very few misguided and backward countries.’Alladi Krishnaswamy Iyer resonated with Nehru’s sentiment and said that 'in the grant of citizenship, we make a distinction between people who have chosen another country as their home and those who want to retain their connection with this country but we cannot do so on any racial or religious grounds’.".Justice Gowda went on to remark that this principle was also recognised in the Supreme Court's ruling in SR Bommai's case. "This is the law of the Constitution Bench judgment way back in the year 1994, in Bommai v Union of India, where the Supreme Court has laid down the law: No law can be enacted by the parliament or the state legislature on the basis of religion.".Hence, he observed that the CAA is unconstitutional. "Therefore, the Citizenship Amendment Act - on the basis of religion, according to me, as per the judgment of Bommai’s case - is unconstitutional," he said. .The retired Judge was one of the speakers present for the launch of the book, Citizenship, Rights and Constitutional Limitations, authored by Dr KS Chauhan, an event that was also attended by former Vice-President of India, Hamid Ansari. .Taking post-retirement jobs amounts to betraying oath of office, Justice Gopala Gowda.Other speakers for the event were Dr Ranbir Singh, former Vice-Chancellor of National Law University, Delhi, and Senior Advocate Indira Jaising and Urmilesh, former Executive Editor or Rajya Sabha TV..[Watch the Launch Event].Justice Gowda, in his speech, also touched upon the National Register of Citizens (NRC) proposed by the Central government. He observed that the law is now amended asking for people to prove their citizenship in a country where "more than 50% of the population is illiterate", and where records are not maintained, 71 years after the country became a republic. ."It is not one religion that is affected. National Registration of Citizenship applies to each one of the person irrespective of religion. This, you must remember", he said. .Calling Judges the 'custodians' of ongoing realities, as referred to in the Minerva Mills case, Dr. Chauhan observed that there are several classes of persons who would be affected and may be rendered stateless, resulting in a violation of their human rights. "The court must come to the rescue", he said, adding, "Hundreds of cases are pending before the apex court, which is the independent judiciary, vibrant judiciary in the entire world. I request that this matter must be taken up and disposed as expeditiously as possible because it concerns every person of this country whose rights are required to be decided.".Dr. Chauhan also echoed some of Justice Gowda's observations on the CAA, remarking,"My view is that the Citizenship Amendment Act, 2019 is totally unconstitutional because we have a secular India." .He remarked that in a secular country, one cannot place emphasis on religion as religion is the private affair of a person. He added that people have their rights to dignity and other rights because of the Constitution. He went on to comment that his book is an attempt to examine the rights of citizens under the scheme of the Constitution. .His address further saw the author express disagreement with the Supreme Court's ruling that reservations are not application in promotions. In this regard, Dr. Chauhan remarked that if equality has to be improved, it would only be possible if advancement is given in higher positions. He also expressed criticism over recent farm law and labour law amendments.