Citizenship (Amendment) Bill 2019: The Union Cabinet on Wednesday cleared the contentious Citizenship Amendment Bill for Parliament to take over. The Bill is now likely to be tabled in the Lok Sabha for clearance. The Parliament is likely to take up the Citizenship Amendment Bill next week. The Modi government has passed this bill in a cabinet meeting on December 04. Now, this bill will go to the Lok Sabha and then to the Rajya Sabha. Opposition parties are upset with some amendments in the bill and calling it anti-minority.
- The Citizenship (Amendment) Bill-2019 will provide Indian citizenship to the six minority communities from Bangladesh, Afghanistan, and Pakistan. These six communities are – Hindu, Buddhist, Jain, Parsi, Christian and Sikhs.
- At present, it is mandatory for a person to stay here for at least 11 years to get citizenship of India.
- The bill will reduce this period to six years. It will enable people from these communities to get Indian citizenship in six years.
- It will make some amendments to the Citizenship Act 1955 to provide legal aid for citizenship.
Who will be considered illegal migrants?
According to the Citizenship Act, 1955, illegal migrants cannot get citizenship of India. The people, who have entered India without valid travel documents like passports and visas or have come to India with valid documents but stay here longer than the period mentioned therein, are considered as illegal migrants under this law.
What are the provisions for illegal migrants?
According to the Citizenship Act, 1955, illegal migrants can either be kept in jail or sent back to their country under the Foreigners Act, 1946 and the Passports (Entry into India) Act, 1920. But in 2015 and 2016, the central government has made some amendments in the laws of 1920 and 1946. It exempted Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christians from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan to stay in India. It means that if people belonging to these communities live in India without valid documents, then they can neither be imprisoned nor deported. This exemption has given to those religious groups who have reached India on or before 31 December 2014.