In a huge development, the Union Cabinet on Wednesday has cleared the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill. The Union Cabinet meeting chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi has cleared the bill and sources said that the Prime Minister is looking forward to its passage by both the Houses of Parliament in the next week. Earlier, speaking at the Republic Summit, Home Minister Amit Shah said that the government is committed to pass and implement the CAB.
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What is the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill?
First introduced in the Lok Sabha in July 2016, this bill was referred to a Joint Parliamentary Committee which filed its report on January 2019. The Bill was then finally passed by the Lok Sabha in January 2019. The Modi government which has implemented the National Registry of Citizens of India, this year, aims to pass the Citizenship Bill in the Rajya Sabha. Protests, which first sprung in 2016, have already reportedly sprung around Assam this week led by the All Assam Students' Union (AASU), which has stated that the will not be accepted by people.
- The Bill amends the Citizenship Act 1955 to make refugees who are Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christians from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan, eligible for citizenship, as explained by PRS.
- It also relaxes the terms of naturalised citizenship, from the original 14 years to six years. Anyone belonging the above-mentioned six religions and three countries can apply for citizenship after residing in India for the stipulated six years.
- Many lawmakers have argued that since the Bill allows refugees i.e. illegal migrants to apply for citizenship based on religion, it may violate Article 14 which guarantees the right to equality.
- The Bill allows cancellation of Overseas Citizen of India (OCI) cardholders' citizenship if they violate any law, including minor offences like parking violations.
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