Guwahati: Union home minister Amit Shah tabled the contentious Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2019 in Lok Sabha on Monday.
Within minutes of introduction of the Bill, Adhir Ranjan Choudhury, leader of Congress in Lok Sabha, termed the Bill as regressive.
Gaurav Gogoi, Member of Parliamenrt from Koliabor in Assam, said that the Bill goes against the foundational values and conditions of the Assam Accord.
Debate on the Bill is underway.
The Bill will be tabled in Rajya Sabha on Tuesday.
The government plans to get the Bill cleared in the ongoing session of Parliament. The winter session ends on December 13.
WHAT IS CITIZENSHIP (AMENDMENT) BILL (CAB)
· The Citizenship (Amendment) Bill seeks to amend the Citizenship Act, 1955
· Once amended it will grant Indian nationality to Hindus, Buddhists, Sikhs, Jains, Parsis and Christians, if they faced religious persecution in Bangladesh, Afghanistan and Pakistan
· Non-Muslim applicants from Bangladesh, Afghanistan and Pakistan would be given Indian citizenship if they had stayed in India for five years, instead of 11 years which is the current rule.
“In the Citizenship Act, 1955 (hereinafter referred to as the principal Act), in section 2, in sub-section (1), after clause (b), the following provisos shall be inserted, namely:— “Provided that persons belonging to minority communities, namely, Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christians from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan, who have been exempted by the Central Government by or under clause (c) of sub-section (2) of section 3 of the Passport (Entry into India) Act, 1920 or from the application of the provisions of the Foreigners Act, 1946 or any order made thereunder, shall not be treated as illegal migrants for the purposes of that Act: Provided further that on and from the date of commencement of the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2019, any proceeding pending against any person referred to in the first proviso shall be abated and such person shall be eligible to apply for naturalisation under section 6.”.
Why Opposition parties are Opposing
Citizenship cannot be given on the basis of religion. This is a violation of Article 14 of the Constitution, which speaks of the right to equality.
Parties who are opposing the Bill
Congress, Trinamool, DMK, Samajwadi Party, RJD and Left, BJD. BJP’s Assam ally AGP seemed to have warmed up to the idea of CAB after the government assured changes to the Bill.
According to the proposed legislation, the amendment will not be applicable to tribal areas of Assam Meghalaya, Mizoram or Tripura as included in the Sixth Schedule to the Constitution and in the areas covered under The Inner Line notified under the Bengal Eastern Frontier Regulation, 1873.
The ILP regime is applicable in Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland and Mizoram.
WHAT IS THE CUT-OFF DATE?
The cut-off date for people to be eligible for citizenship is December 31, 2014. This means they need to have entered India on or before that date. Under the current law, citizenship is given either to people born in India or if they have resided in the country for a minimum of 11 years.
WHY WIDESPREAD PROTESTS AGAINST CAB IN ASSAM?
If cut-off date for CAB is fixed as Dec 31, 2014 it will negate the March 24, 1971 cut-off date fixed in the Assam Accord for deportation of all illegal immigrants irrespective of religion.
The bill was first time introduced in the Lok Sabha on 19 July 2016 and was referred to the Joint Parliamentary Committee on 12 August 2016. The committee submitted its report on 7 January 2019. The bill was passed in the Lok Sabha on January 8, 2019, but the bill was not introduced in the Rajya Sabha at that time. As per the parliamentary procedure, if a bill gets a nod from Lok Sabha but couldn’t get passed in Rajya Sabha then it will be re-introduced in both the houses.
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