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Union Cabinet Clears Citizenship Amendment Bill

4 Dec 2019 7:19 AM GMT
Union Cabinet Clears Citizenship Amendment Bill
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The Union Cabinet on Wednesday cleared the bill to amend the Citizenship Act, reported the PTI.

The amendment seeks to relax the conditions for granting Indian citizenship to non-Muslim refugees from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Bangladesh.

As per PTI, the bill is likely to be tabled in the Parliament in the next two days.

The proposal has already generated a lot of controversies. Critics of the bill argue that the amendment seeks to link citizenship with religious identity, which is impermissible as per Constitution. The move has triggered violent protests in North-Eastern states on the ground that it will legitimize the stay of several illegal migrants, disturbing the local demographics.

The impact of the proposed amendment on the National Register of Citizens for Assam, which excluded nearly 20 lakh persons, will also be a subject of discussions.

The previous Lok Sabha had cleared a similar amendment in January 2019. As per that bill, which was introduced in 2016, Hindus, Sikhs, Parsis, Jains and Christians who migrated to India without travel documents from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan were not be regarded as illegal migrants. This was proposed to be done by inserting a new proviso to Section 2(1)(b) of the Citizenship Act 1955.

The present present Citizenship Act does not recognize the claims of illegal migrants for citizenship.

That bill also proposed to relax the condition for acquisition of citizenship by naturalization for the non-Muslim migrants from these countries. As per the existing law, a person should be a resident in India for the period of 12 months immediately preceding the date of application, and also should have been residing in India for 11 out of the 14 years preceding the said period of 12 months.

This period of 11 years was proposed to be relaxed as 6 years for non-Muslim refugees from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan, by inserting a proviso to clause (d) in Third Schedule of the Act.

But the bill got stalled in Rajya Sabha, and eventually lapsed with the dissolution of 16th Lok Sabha.

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