CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury condemning the Citizenship Amendment Bill (CAB) said, "The bill is an ultra virus of the Constitution.'' In a huge development, the Union Cabinet on Wednesday cleared the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill that has been in the talks for months now. The Union Cabinet meeting chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi cleared the bill and sources reported that the Prime Minister is looking forward to its passage by both the Houses of Parliament next week. Speaking on the same, Sitaram Yechury said that the CPI(M) had vehemently opposed the bill when it made its first appearance in the Rajya Sabha back in 2016 and that they would continue to oppose it.
"Our position remains. The citizenship issue cannot be related to the religious affiliations of an individual. And that is exactly what the bill aims to do. This, we think is completely ultra virus to the constitution."
Sitaram Yechury also talks about how after the bill wasn't allowed to pass back in 2016, the Modi government was forced to appoint a Joint Select committee. He spoke about how even there the CPI(M) had given a note of dissent. "The constitution says irrespective of caste, creed or sex. This is the Indian Constitution and now they want to change that. And we think that it (CAB) should not even stand in the scrutiny of law because it's anti-constitutional."
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 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. It also relaxes the terms of naturalised citizenship, from the original 14 years to six years. Anyone belonging to the above-mentioned six religions and three countries can apply for citizenship after residing in India for the stipulated six years.