The Union Cabinet meeting chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday, December 4, gave a nod to the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill and is now awaiting clearance by both the Houses of Parliament. The bill is expected to be presented in the Houses next week and as sources report, PM Modi is looking forward to its passage by both the Houses. Earlier, while speaking at the Republic Summit 2019 Union Home Minister Amit Shah had expressed the government's commitment to pass and implement the bill. The Citizenship (Amendment) Bill (CAB) seeks to provide citizenship to non-Muslims from Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh if they faced persecution in their countries.
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Everything you need to know about the CAB:
- The Citizenship (Amendment) Bill was first introduced in the Lok Sabha back in 2016 and was finally passed by the House in January 2019. The bill was also referred to a Joint Parliamentary Committee which filed its report on January 2019.
- The CAB seeks to amend the Citizenship Act of 1955 to make Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christians from neighbouring countries Bangladesh and Pakistan, and even Afghanistan eligible for Indian citizenship.
- Under the Act, one of the requirements for citizenship by naturalisation is that the applicant must have resided in India during the last 12 months, and for 11 of the previous 14 years. The bill relaxes the original 14-year requirement earlier to six years for people belonging to the same six religions and three countries.
- The bill provides that the registration of Overseas Citizen of India (OCI) cardholders may be cancelled if they violate any law, including minor offences like parking violations.
- The primary opposition to the bill is that it makes illegal migrants eligible for citizenship on the basis of religion, which critics say violates Article 14 of the Indian Constitution advocating the Right to Equality.
- The CAB has also received criticism on the grounds of concerns stating that granting citizenship to foreigners will undermine the ethnic communities living in India.
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Left opposes the CAB
The CPI(M) on Wednesday, opposed the Citizenship Amendment Bill, saying it was "unacceptable and unconstitutional" as citizenship cannot be determined by or linked to religion. "It is simple. Citizenship cannot be determined by or linked to religion. This is what makes the Citizenship Amendment Bill (CAB) unacceptable and unconstitutional. The CAB is aimed at destroying the basis of India. India's citizens are its citizens, irrespective of what faith they follow or don't, what they eat, what work they do, their caste, creed, place of residence, gender or colour of skin. No to Citizenship Amendment Bill," CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury tweeted.
READ | Citizenship Cannot Be Determined By Or Linked To Religion, Bill Unconstitutional: CPI(M)
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