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Everything you need to know about Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2019

By DAYANAND MOHITE | published: December 10, 2019 02:28 PM 2019-02-12T14:15:30+5:30

Everything you need to know about Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2019

city : mumbai

Citizenship Amendment Bill, 2019, breezed through the Lok Sabha assessment on Monday (December 9) after extraordinary discussion and contentions from the legislature and the resistance on the Bill for more than six hours. The Bill was spent after 12 PM with 311 MPs casting a ballot in support of its and 80 against. Association Home Minister Amit Shah gave a point by point clarification after the bill was postponed for exchange and said that it is a piece of the Bharatiya Janata Party-drove National Democratic Alliance statement.

At present, the Citizenship Act, 1955 directs who may procure Indian citizenship and on what grounds. An individual may turn into an Indian resident on the off chance that they are conceived in India or have Indian parentage or have lived in the nation for a while, and so on. Be that as it may, unlawful transients are not qualified to become Indian residents. An unlawful vagrant is an outsider who: (I) enters the nation without substantial travel archives, similar to an identification and visa, or (ii) enters with legitimate records, however remains past the allowed timeframe, revealed PRS India.

Unlawful vagrants might be detained or expelled under the Foreigners Act, 1946 and the Passport (Entry into India) Act, 1920. Under the 1946 and the 1920 Acts, the Center has the ability to direct the passage, exit and home of outsiders inside India. In 2015 and 2016, two notices were given by focal government excluding certain gatherings of unlawful vagrants from arrangements of the 1946 and the 1920 Acts. These gatherings are Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christians from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan, who landed in India at the very latest December 31, 2014. As indicated by PRS India, the notices implied that unlawful transients having a place with these networks won't be extradited or detained for being in India without substantial reports.

In 2016, the BJP-drove government at the Center had acquainted a Bill with alter the Citizenship Act, 1955. The Bill planned for making unlawful transients having a place with these six religions and three nations qualified for citizenship and rolled out certain improvements in the arrangements on enrollment of Overseas Citizens of India (OCI) cardholders. The Bill was sent to a Joint Parliamentary Committee, which presented its report on January 7, 2019 and was passed by Lok Sabha on January 8, 2019. The focal government, be that as it may, didn't table the Bill in Rajya Sabha and it slipped by with the disintegration of the sixteenth Lok Sabha.

The Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2019 went in Lok Sabha on December 9, 2019 looks to make unlawful vagrants who are Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christians from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan, qualified for citizenship. The Bill, be that as it may, excludes certain zones in the North-East from this arrangement. The Bill likewise makes alterations to arrangements identified with OCI cardholders. As indicated by PRS India, an outsider may enlist as an OCI under the 1955 Act on the off chance that they are of Indian starting point (e.g., previous resident of India or their relatives) or the life partner of an individual of Indian cause. The outsider will at that point be permitted to appreciate advantages, for example, the privilege to make a trip to India, and to work and concentrate in the nation. The Bill alters the Act to permit crossing out of OCI enlistment if the individual has disregarded any law advised by the focal government.

Here are the salient features of Citizenship (Amendment) Bill 2019

Eligibility for citizenship for certain illegal migrants:  The Act prohibits illegal migrants from acquiring Indian citizenship. Illegal migrants are foreigners who enter India without a valid passport or travel document, or stay beyond the permitted time. 

The Bill amended the Act to provide that Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christians from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan will not be treated as illegal migrants.  In order to get this benefit, they must have also been exempted from the Foreigners Act, 1946 and the Passport (Entry into India) Act, 1920 by the central government.  The 1920 Act mandates foreigners to carry passport, while the1946 Act regulates the entry and departure of foreigners in India.

Consequences of acquiring citizenship:  The Bill says that on acquiring citizenship: (i) such persons shall be deemed to be citizens of India from the date of their entry into India, and (ii) all legal proceedings against them in respect of their illegal migration or citizenship will be closed. 

Exception:  Further, the Bill adds that the provisions on citizenship for illegal migrants will not apply to the tribal areas of Assam, Meghalaya, Mizoram, or Tripura, as included in the Sixth Schedule to the Constitution.  These tribal areas include Karbi Anglong (in Assam), Garo Hills (in Meghalaya), Chakma District (in Mizoram), and Tripura Tribal Areas District.  It will also not apply to the areas under the Inner Line” under the Bengal Eastern Frontier Regulation, 1873.  The Inner Line Permit regulates visit of Indians to Arunachal Pradesh, Mizoram, and Nagaland.

The Bill further reduces the period of naturalisation for such group of persons from six years to five years.

Grounds for cancelling OCI registration:  The Act provides that the central government may cancel registration of OCIs on five grounds including registration through fraud, showing disaffection to the Constitution, engaging with the enemy during war, necessity in the interest of sovereignty of India, security of state or public interest, or if within five years of registration the OCI has been sentenced to imprisonment for two years or more. The Bill added one more ground for cancelling registration, that is, if the OCI has violated any law that is in force in the country. 

Sources: The Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016, as passed by Lok Sabha; The Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2019; PRS.

Issues to consider

In the case of separating on grounds of religion is an infringement of Article 14 of Indian Constitution The Citizenship Amendment Bill gives that illicit transients who satisfy four conditions won't be treated as unlawful vagrants under the Act.

The conditions are (a) they are Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis or Christians; (b) they are from Afghanistan, Bangladesh or Pakistan; (c) they entered India at the latest December 31, 2014; (d) they are not in certain ancestral territories of Assam, Meghalaya, Mizoram, or Tripura remembered for the Sixth Schedule to the Constitution, or regions under the "Internal Line" license, i.e., Arunachal Pradesh, Mizoram, and Nagaland.

Prominently, Article 14 of Constitution ensures balance to all people, including residents and outsiders. It possibly allows laws to separate between gatherings of individuals if the method of reasoning for doing so fills a sensible need.

The inquiry is whether this arrangement in Citizenship Amendment Bill, 2019 damages the privilege to correspondence under Article 14 of the Constitution as it gives differential treatment to illicit transients based on (a) their nation of source, (b) religion, (c) date of passage into India, and (d) spot of home in India.

The Bill separates transients dependent on their nation of source to incorporate just Afghanistan, Pakistan and Bangladesh. The Statement of Objects and Reasons in the Bill (SoR) states that individuals from Afghanistan, Pakistan and Bangladesh have relocated to India for quite a while, and these nations have a state religion, which has brought about strict mistreatment of minority gatherings. While the SoR of the Bill says that a large number of residents of unified India were living in Pakistan and Bangladesh, it has not clarified the purpose for including transients from Afghanistan.

It is likewise hazy why transients from other neighboring nations, for example, Sri Lanka (Buddhist state religion) and Myanmar (supremacy to Buddhism) are excluded from the rundown. It is to be noticed that Tamils has had a background marked by confronting oppression in Sri Lanka. In Myanmar, there is a past filled with abuse of a strict minority, the Rohingya Muslims.

A few Tamils from Sri Lanka and Rohingya Muslims have gotten away from mistreatment in their individual nations so as to look for asylum in India. Since the Bill targets giving citizenship to transients getting away strict oppression in their own nations, it isn't clear why illicit vagrants having a place with strict minorities from these nations have been barred from the Bill.

Second, the Bills just remembers certain minorities for Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh, however there are different strict minorities in these nations, who face strict abuse and look for asylum in India.

For instance, Ahmadiyya Muslims have been confronting steady mistreatment in Pakistan and agnostics are likewise confronting genuine issues in Bangladesh. It is vague why these individuals were excluded from the Bill.

The Bill additionally neglects to clarify why there is a differential treatment of vagrants dependent on their date of section into India, i.e., regardless of whether they entered India previously or after December 31, 2014.

The Bill additionally bars illicit vagrants living in regions secured by the Sixth Schedule, that is, told innate zones in Assam, Meghalaya, Mizoram and Tripura. The Bill additionally avoids the Inner Line Permit territories. Internal Line manages the section of people, including Indian residents, into Arunachal Pradesh, Mizoram and Nagaland. Quite, when an unlawful transient dwelling in these territories becomes Indian resident, he/she would be dependent upon similar limitations in these zones, as are relevant to other Indian residents.


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