There has been ongoing debate and protests against the newly introduced Citizenship Bill all over India.Obviously some of them support it while some are against it.While a large section of people are still unaware of the underlying principles and details about the bill, here we share the much required details of Citizenship Amendment Act.
When a bill becomes a law?
A bill becomes a law when it is passed in both the houses by majority and finally gets signed by the President.Without Presidents assent a bill cannot become a law. The Citizenship bill was passed by the Lok Sabha with a majority of 311 votes against 80.In Rajya Sabha, besides BJP it was supported by JD(U), SAD, AIADMK, TDP, BJD.Shiv Sena chose not to participate in the voting.It was signed by the Honourable President of India on 12th December.
What is CAB?
The Citizenship (Amendment) Bill grants citizenship to the non-Muslims – Hindus, Sikhs, Christians, Buddhist, Jains and Parsis — from Afghanistan, Pakistan and Bangladesh who arrived in India before December 31, 2014.
In other words, the CAB paves way for Indian citizenship to lakhs of immigrants, who identify themselves with any of the given religions, even if they lacked any document to prove their residency. It also means that any immigrant who does not belong to the said communities would not be eligible for Indian citizenship.
Also, as per the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, any illegal immigrant from Afghanistan, Pakistan and Bangladesh who belongs to these said communities will not be deported or imprisoned if they are not carrying any valid documents for their residency in India.
Earlier, the duration of the immigrants’ residency was 11 years. The amended bill has reduced it to five years. This means that immigrants from the three countries and from the mentioned religions, who have entered India before December 31, 2014, would not be treated as illegal immigrants.
The CAB exempts certain areas in the North-East from this provision like tribal areas of Assam, Meghalaya, Mizoram and Tripura as included in the Sixth Schedule of the constitution and the area covered under the inner limit notified under the Bengal Eastern Frontier Regulation,1873.
What is NRC?
The National Register of Citizens (NRC) is a register containing names of all genuine Indian citizens.It was first prepared in 1951.This list was updated for Assam,to check the illegal inflow of foreigners .To be eligible to be citizens of India,people of Assam would have to prove that either they or their ancestors were in India on or before March 24,1971,the eve of the Bangladesh war.
How CAB affects NRC?
There is a fear among people that CAB could nullify the 1985 Assam accord.The NRC aimed at deportation of illegal migrants irrespective of their religion while the CAB ensures citizenship to all those religious communities (Hindu, Sikh, Christian, Parsi, Jain, Buddhist) from Bangladesh, Afghanistan and Pakistan.