(The Gist of PIB) Lok Sabha passes the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill 2019  [DECEMBER-2019]

(The Gist of PIB) Lok Sabha passes the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill 2019


Lok Sabha passes the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill 2019

The Lok Sabha passed the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill 2019.

Crucial highlights:

  • The bill amends The Citizenship Act, 1955 which regulates who may acquire Indian citizenship and on what grounds.
  • The Bill seeks to grant Indian Citizenship to persons belonging to Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, Parsi and Christian communities who have migrated to India after facing persecution on grounds of religion in Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh.
  • The Bill make applicants belonging to the said communities from the aforesaid countries eligible for citizenship by naturalisation if they can establish their residency in India for 5 years instead of the existing 11 years.
  • The provisions of the amendments to the Act would not apply to tribal areas of Assam, Meghalaya, Mizoram or Tripura as included in the Sixth Schedule to the Constitution and the area covered under ‘The Inner Line’ notified under the Bengal Eastern Frontier Regulation, 1873. Manipur would be brought under the ILP regime.
  • The Bill seeks to amend section 7D of the act to empower the Central Government to cancel registration as Overseas Citizen of India (OCI) Cardholder in case of violation of any provisions of the Citizenship Act or any other law for the time being in force.

Key concerns:

  • The bill makes illegal migrants eligible for citizenship on the basis of religion – a move that may violate Article 14 of the Indian Constitution, which guarantees the right to equality.
  • The Bill classifies migrants based on their country of origin to include only Afghanistan, Pakistan and Bangladesh. It is not clear why migrants from these countries are differentiated from migrants from other neighbouring countries such as Sri Lanka and Myanmar.
  • There has been a strong resistance to the Bill in North east esp. Assam 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.

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Courtesy: PIB