LokSabha Passes Citizenship (Amendment) Bill (Download PDF)

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Lok Sabha today passed the contentious Citizenship (Amendment) Bill 2019, that seeks to provide Indian citizenship to non-Muslims from Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan. It will pave way for the religious minorities –the Hindus, Jains, Christians, Sikhs, Buddhists and Parsis – from these states to get Indian citizenship.

Image Of Citizenship Bill

Image Of Citizenship Bill

Image Of Citizenship Bill

  • Six communities — Hindus, Jains, Christians, Sikhs, Buddhists and Parsis from Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan — faced “discrimination and religious persecution” and they “have no place to go, except India. “

  • The Union Cabinet had also approved grant of ST status to six communities of Assam — Tai Ahom, Koch Rajbongshi, Chutia, Tea Tribes, Moran and Matak.

  • A separate Bill will be brought to grant ST status to Bodo Kacharis in Hill districts of Assam and Karbis in the rest of Assam.

  • Sixth Schedule of the Constitution is also proposed to be amended to strengthen the Autonomous District Councils. Some of these demands have been made since 1980. “

The Vision for Passing the Bill

  • Quoting former Prime Minister Jawaharal Nehru as being in favour of giving shelter to persecuted minorities in the neighbouring countries, Although Indian leaders signed pacts with leaders of Pakistan and Bangladesh for protection of minorities, unfortunately it had not happened.

  • Even former Prime Minister had asked the then BJP-led government to be more liberal in dealing with the issue of persecuted minorities in Bangladesh.

  • The Bill seeks to grant citizenship to members of the six communities who have come to India till December 31,2014.

  • It also reduces the mandatory requirement of 12 years stay in India to seven years to be eligible for citizenship if they do not possess any document.

  • Seeking to allay concerns of an influx in Assam, Assam alone should not have to bear the entire burden.

  • The beneficiaries of Citizenship Amendment Bill can reside in any State of the country.

  • The burden of those persecuted migrants will be shared by the whole country.

Opposition by the Congress Party

  • The Congress walked out of the proceedings without taking part in the discussion, saying the Bill seeks to “divide India on religious lines”.

  • The Congress said many States opposed the Bill and it should be sent to a select committee. As the government did not heed the demand, its MPs walked out.

  • It wanted the Bill to go for another round of deliberation by a Joint Select Committee of Parliament.

Advantages After Passing the Bill

  • The migrants - Hindus, Jains, Christians, Sikhs, Buddhists and Parsis - were earlier given protection against legal action in 2015 and 2016.

  • “Long-term visa provision was made for them. The amendment will make these persecuted migrants eligible to apply for citizenship, ” he said, adding it will be given only after due scrutiny and recommendation of district authorities and the state government.

  • The legislation also seeks to provide relief to persecuted migrants who have come through western borders to states like Gujarat, Rajasthan, Delhi and Madhya Pradesh, he added.

  • It will apply to all states and union territories and the beneficiaries will be able to reside in any part of the country.

Negates NRC

  • There has been a strong resistance to the Bill in BJP-ruled Assam and other northeastern States who fear it would pave the way for granting citizenship mostly to illegal Hindu migrants from Bangladesh, who came after March 1971, in violation of the 1985 Assam Accord.

  • Nearly 40 lakh people were excluded from the final draft of the National Register of Citizens (NRC) in Assam that was published on July 30 last year.

  • The new Bill seeks to negate the NRC (a process that is the fallout of the Assam Accord), as it would grant citizenship to all Hindus who came to Assam from Bangladesh even after the NRC cut off date of March 1971.

  • The proposed amendment will make these persecuted migrants eligible to apply for citizenship. Citizenship will be given to them only after due scrutiny and recommendation of district authorities and the State Government

To Become a LAW

  • To become a law, the Bill will have to be cleared by the Rajya Sabha on Wednesday, the last day of its current session.

  • The Bill was originally introduced in 2016 and later sent to a Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC).

  • The Committee submitted its report after which the Bill was redrafted and presented in the Lok Sabha.

- Published/Last Modified on: February 14, 2019

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