Citizenship Amendment Bill 2019
(Gitam School of Law)
The Parliament recently passed the Citizenship (amendment) Bill 2019, that obtained the President's approval to become an Act. The Citizenship (amendment) Act, 2019 aims at amending the 1955 Citizenship Act. According to the government, this bill is aimed at granting the citizenship of someone rather than removing it. India has a civilization requirement to safeguard those who are being prosecuted in its neighbourhood. The methods, however, must be consistent with the spirit of the Constitution.
What is the history of the bill?
The Citizen Amendment Bill had first been introduced to Parliament in July 2016.
The bill passed the lower house of parliament where the BJP had a large majority, but did not reach in the upper house following violent anti-migrant demonstrations in north-eastern India.
The protests were extremely intense in Assam State, where two million people left a register of citizens in August. Illegal migration from Bangladesh has been a state problem for a long time.
The CAB is considered to be related to the register although this is not the same thing.
The National Register of Citizens (NRC) is a population of names who can prove that they arrived in the state by 24 March 1971, a day before Bangladesh became an independent country.
All through the twelfth to the twentieth century, due to religious persecution in Iran. Iran's parsis has spread to India on a wide scale. In 1947 there was a partition between India and Pakistan, which led more than 1 crore people to move to each other country. And because of this partition, the Bangladesh Liberation movement between 1960-71 lakhs of Bangladeshi citizens migrated to India because of this war for independence After the Chinese-Tibet war in 1959-60 many Tibetans migrated to India because of the Soviet war-Afghas also migrated to India because of this war between 1980 and 2000 because of the Sri Lankan civil war, Sri Lankan Tamils migrated here. And during 2015-17 the Rohingyas of Myanmar migrated to India.
According to the 2001 census survey, there are a significant number of migrants from Bangladesh and Pakistan in India.
Citizenship issues in India are discussed in two articles.
● Constitution of India
● Citizenship of India Act 1955
The Constitution of India specifies who the right Indian people were in 1950, and the clause of the Constitution has been beneficial to our grandparents and forefathers.
But the post-1950 rules, including who would be considered Indian people after 1950. Whether anyone can be an Indian citizen today or how someone will be able to obtain Indian citizenship in the coming days. Both of these are discussed in the Indian Citizenship Act 1955.
What is the citizenship bill 2019?
On 11 December 2019, the Rajya Sabha passed the controversial Citizenship (amendment) Act, with as many as 125 Members voting for it and 99 against it. On 9 December 2019, the CAB Bill was tabled and passed at the Lok Sabha Winter Session. It was signed by President Ram Nath Kovind on 12 December.
The Citizenship Amendment Act, 2019 aims at illegalizing Indian citizenship
refugees from six communities, including Hindu, Buddhist, Sikh, Christian, Jain and Parsi. They're coming from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan.
How is citizenship acquired in India?
Citizenship is governed in India by the Citizenship Act, 1955. The Act provides that citizenship may be acquired in India by five ways – by birth in India, by descent, by registration, by naturalization (extended residency in India) and by the incorporation of territory into India.
Citizenship Act, 1955: regulations and amendments
The Citizenship Amendment Bill, 1955, made it compulsory for a person to remain in India for at least 11 years to obtain natural citizenship, which was later reduced to 6 years, but limited to 5 years.
The Overseas Indian Card
Citizenship (amendment ) Act, 2019.
The Citizenship Reform Act of 2005 created a new category.
Citizen of Overseas India Cardholder (Section 7A).This clause has been extended.
Persons of Indian origin live outside India, particularly in western India.
Countries, but explained that "no person, who or either of whose parents or parents"
Grandparents or grandparents are or have been a resident of Pakistan,
Bangladesh or a country other than the Central Government may
Specify that they are eligible for registration as an Overseas Citizen of India.
Cardholders Instead of giving dual citizenship to overseas Indians, the OIC
Card was implemented to provide them with a legally recognised special status.
The holders of the OIC card have three key facilities: multi-entry and multi-entry.
Aim of a lifetime visa to visit India; protected from reporting to the police
Authorities for every duration of the stay in India; and parity with non-residents
Indians in the political, economic and educational spheres.
Main purpose of the Bill
The Bill seeks to change the manner in which citizenship is gained in compliance with the Act.
First, by modifying the definition of illegal immigrants. Until now, illegal immigrants have been identified in this Act as such.
● If any person who comes to India for living without having the valid passport or having fraud documents
● He has exceeded the permission limit of staying in India.
In that scenario, the individual will be considered an illegal immigrant and will be forced to leave the country. Yet this bill has modified the entire meaning of the Act.
It is said that before 31 December 2014, any people who have come to India by any means and if they are from Afghanistan, Pakistan and Bangladesh and belong to six communities-Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis, Christians. And now these people are not going to be considered illegal immigrants.
Therefore, according to the act of people who have been considered illegal immigrants, the bill amends the matter, and all those people who have come from these three countries will not be illegal immigrants.
The second shift is in the course of gaining citizenship. Before it was like, if you're coming from Pakistan and willing to take Indian citizenship to the point where you have to spend 11 years in India or have to do some government service after you get Indian citizenship.
So this bill is changing this whole mechanism, and it says that if you are born from these three countries (Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Pakistan) and you belong to these six communities.
(Hindus, Sikhs, Muslims, Parsis, Buddhists, Jains)
Through these countries, you only have to spend 5 years instead of 11 to get Indian citizenship. Accordingly, since 2014, from December 2014 to 2019, five years have passed and all these illegal immigrants must convert to Indian nationals.
Why has the government chosen only these three countries and why only six communities?
How the government has removed other neighbouring nations and other groups and is in violation of Article 14. The main motto of the bill is to increase the loss of migration and to ease it so much now that it needs to be expanded and relaxed as a policy issue. And they said that in our neighbouring countries, minority groups are being persecuted and affected by religious persecution. And why did they choose only three countries because the constitution framework of these three countries states that the Islamic State is not a secular country?
And in these countries, these six communities are minorities and are facing religious persecution, which is why these three countries and the six communities are selected.
Why did protests happen during this bill?
There are two types of protests against the Act that took place across India at that time. In the north-east, there is a protest against the implementation of the law in their areas. Most fear that, if implemented, the Act will cause a surge of immigrants who may modify their demographic and linguistic uniqueness. People are demonstrating against the exclusion of Muslims in the rest of India, as in Kerala, West Bengal and Delhi, saying it is against the principles of the Constitution.
Issues raised in this bill
The Bill's basic argument has been that it specifically addresses Muslims. Critics contend that it violates Article 14 of the Constitution (which guarantees the right to equality) and the secularist principle.
India has many other refugees including Sri Lankan Tamils and Myanmar-based Hindu Rohingya. They aren't protected by the Act.
Considering the exception given to some areas in the north-eastern states, the possibility of citizenship for large numbers of illegal migrants from Bangladesh has caused deep state anxieties.
The government would have trouble differentiating between illegal and marginalized migrants.
Why does CAB object to the northeast?
Citizenship prospects for large numbers of illegal Bangladeshi migrants have created deep anxieties across the north-eastern states, including concerns about demographic change, loss of livelihood opportunities and erosion of native culture. The Act appears to contravene both the letter and spirit of the Assam Agreement.
On 24 March 1971, the Assam Agreement, signed between the then-Rajiv Gandhi-led Central Government and the All Assam Student Union (AASU), set a cut-off date for foreign immigrants. Those who illegally entered Assam after that date had to be found and deported, no matter their religion.
The Citizenship Amendment Act changed the cut-off date for six sects to 31 December 2014, which is not fair for Brahmaputra Valley's Assamese-speaking people, who are demanding that all illegal immigrants be declared illegally.
Exemptions under the Citizenship Act 2019
The Citizenship (amendment) Bill excludes some parts of the North East from this clause. It does not extend to the tribal regions of Assam, Meghalaya, Mizoram and Tripura. This essentially means that Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland and Mizoram, along with almost all of Meghalaya and parts of Assam and Tripura, will remain beyond the scope of the Bill of Citizenship (Amendment).
What is NRC?
At its base, the NRC is an actual document of legal Indian citizens. It includes demographic details on all those individuals who qualify as Indian citizens according to the 1955 Citizenship Act. The register was first prepared after the 1951 Indian Census and has not been revised until recently.
How is NRC related to CAB?
The proposed national NRC, which until now is just a suggestion, if introduced, would combat illegal immigrants in India.
Yet Hindus, Christians, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains and Parsis from Afghanistan, Pakistan and Bangladesh will not be affected if they appear to have arrived in India after suffering religious persecution.
This effectively means that, if the NRC arrives as expected, any illegal immigrant from countries other than Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh will be affected.
However, many also worry that if Indian Muslims are unable to provide adequate proof of citizenship because they are not included in the Citizenship Amendment Act, they could be considered illegal immigrants.
Is CAB And NRC the same?
The National Register of Citizens or the NRC, which we saw in Assam, opposed illegal immigrants. An individual had to prove that either they or their ancestors were in Assam on or before 24 March 1971. The NRC, which can be applied to the rest of the world, is not based on ethnicity, unlike the CAB.
Parliament has unrestricted authority to make rules for the country when it comes to citizenship. Yet the opposition and other political parties argue that the Government's Act violates some of the fundamental features of the constitution, such as secularism and equality. It can enter the threshold of the Supreme Court where the Supreme Court is the final interpreter. When it violates the constitutional features and goes ultra-wires, it will be reversed if it is not the case that we will continue to have the rule.
Yet one thing that is most critical is that New Delhi must be balanced, because it also includes neighbouring countries. Every excessive effort to host migrants should not be made at the expense of goodwill over the years. India, being a land of numerous customs and beliefs, a birthplace of religions and a receiver of the faiths and defender of the oppressed in the past, should always uphold the values of secularism.
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