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Citizenship (Amendment) bill, 2019

Citizenship (Amendment) bill, 2019

The Citizenship (Amendment) Bill or CAB that was cleared by the Union Cabinet on 4th December 2019 will be tabled in parliament on Monday. The draft version of the bill also exempts parts of the Northeast, and will make it easier for non-Muslim refugees from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan to become Indian citizens.

Key Points:

  • If passed the CAB will become the first bill under which nationality will be granted on the basis of religion. An earlier version had been passed by the Lok Sabha in January but lapsed after it stalled in the Rajya Sabha.
  • The draft bill which is a copy of which the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill will enable the Government to cancel the registration of Overseas Citizen of India (OCI) Cardholder in case of violations of the provisions of the Citizenship Act or any other notified law.
  • The bill amends the 1955 Citizenship Act that says individuals looking to gain citizenship must have lived in the country for 12 months prior to application and for 11 of the last 14 years; if passed it will reduce the latter to 6 years for non-Muslim applications from the three countries.
  • This states that "any person belonging to Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, Parsi or Christian community from Afghanistan, Bangladesh or Pakistan, who entered into India on or before the 31st day of December 2014, can apply for Indian citizenship.
  • The draft bill states that "Nothing in this section will apply to tribal areas of Assam, Meghalaya, Mizoram and 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".

Concerning factors:

This bill has not included the Muslim community. According to this, the opposition is a violation of Article 14 that legalises equality before the law. The article states that the government shall show no discrimination on the grounds of religion, caste, race, sex or birth.

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