Amid protest rage, Rajya Sabha passed the Citizenship Amendment Bill, 2019 by 125-99 votes on Wednesday. The Citizenship Amendment Bill will now go to the President for assent. This bill grants citizenship to the non-Muslims Hindus, Sikhs, Christians, Buddhists, Jains, and Parsis from Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Bangladesh who arrived in India before December 31, 2014.
What is Citizenship Amendment Bill (CAB)?
The Citizen Amendment Bill is an amendment bill in Citizenship Act, 1955. CAB seeks to give Indian citizenship to non-muslim migrants from three of India’s neighboring countries Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Afghanistan.
History of Citizenship Amendment Bill
This is not the first time when an amendment in the 1955 Citizenship Act is introduced. In 2016, the government introduced the bill but it lapsed as the parliament dissolved. In fact, Citizenship Amendment Bill is also duly mentioned in the BJP’s manifesto for General Elections 2019.
Citizenship Act, 1955 & Amendments
- Citizenship Act, 1955
The Citizenship Act, 1955 regulates the eligibility criteria for acquiring Indian Citizenship. It describes 5 key conditions for acquiring Indian Citizenship:
- Citizenship by Birth
- Citizenship by Descent
- Citizenship by Registration
- Citizenship by Naturalization
- Citizenship by incorporation of territory
Extracts from the Citizenship Act, 1955 can be seen below.
- Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016
Citizenship Amendment Bill 2016 was introduced to provide citizenship to non-Muslim immigrants who had been forced to seek shelter in India because of religious persecution or fear of persecution in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Bangladesh.
The citizenship (Amendment) Bill was tabled in Lok Sabha on 19 July 2016 and was sent to the Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) on 12 August 2016. The JPC submitted its report on 7 January 2019. The Citizenship Amendment Bill 2016 couldn’t become law as Rajya Sabha adjourned sine die on 13 February 2019. As per parliamentary rules, if a bill isn’t passed from the Rajya Sabha and Lok Sabha is dissolved, the bill lapses.
Difference Between 1955 Citizenship Act, Citizenship Amendment Bill 2016 and Citizenship Amendment Bill 2019
|S.No.||Citizenship Act, 1995||CAB 2016||CAB 2019|
|1||Illegal Migrant can not get citizenship in India||Non-Muslim migrants can take citizenship in India||Same as CAB 2016|
|2||Illegal Migrants must stay at least 11 years to get Indian citizenship through registration||Illegal Migrants must stay at least 6 in India before applying for citizenship through naturalization||Illegal Migrants must stay at least 5 in India before applying for citizenship through naturalization|
|3||Overseas Citizenship of India (OCI) can only be canceled under limited circumstances||OCI cancellation if the cardholder violates local laws for major and minor offenses and violations.||OCI cancellation if the cardholder violates local laws for major and minor offenses and violations.|
The Citizenship (Amendment) Bill entitles the Overseas Citizens of India (OCI) cardholders to benefits such as the right to travel to India, and to work and study in the country.
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