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DAILY NEWS ANALYSIS

GS-II :
  • 05 December, 2019

  • Min Read

After Cabinet nod, Citizenship Bill ready for tabling in House

Syllabus subtopic: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.

News: The Union Cabinet chaired by PM Narendra Modi cleared the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2019 on Wednesday paving the way for its introduction in Parliament on December 9.

Prelims and Mains focus: About the key features of the Bill, its significance and concerns raised against the Bill; Assam accord, NRC

About the Bill

  • The Bill seeks to amend the Citizenship Act, 1955 by seeking to grant citizenship to undocumented non­Muslims from Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan who came to India on or before December 31, 2014.

  • The Bill shall not apply to tribal areas of Assam, Meghalaya, Mizoram and Tripura as included in the sixth schedule of the Constitution and States of Arunachal Pradesh, Mizoram and Nagaland protected by the Inner Line Permit (ILP).

  • Citizens of other States require ILP to visit the three States as per the Bengal Eastern Frontier Regulation, 1873.

  • The exemption means that Hindu, Buddhist, Christian, Parsi, Jain and Sikh communities from the three countries will not be able to take up jobs, purchase land or settle down in these areas.

Significance

The purpose of the Bill says that it will enable acquisition of Indian citizenship by persons who were forced to seek shelter in India due to persecution or fear of it on grounds of religion and will extend the facility to the class of persons presently facing hardships and difficulties in acquiring citizenship.

The earlier form of the Bill cleared by the Lok Sabha in January did not have these provisions.

Concerns of Northeastern States

Northeastern States erupted in protests against the Bill as it will nullify the provisions of the Assam Accord of 1985, which fixed March 24, 1971, as the cut­off date for deportation of all illegal immigrants, irrespective of religion.

The National Register of Citizens (NRC) in Assam was updated as per the accord. The Bill says the six non-Muslim communities “shall not be treated as illegal migrant” for violating provisions under Passport Act, 1920 or the Foreigners Act, 1946 that pertains to foreigners entering and staying in India illegally.

The Bill also proposes to protect the applicants under this category from all pending legal cases.

“On and from the date of commencement of the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2019, any proceedings pending against a person under this section in respect of illegal migration or citizenship shall stand abated on conferment of citizenship to him,” the Bill says.

The immediate beneficiaries of this amendment would be the non­Muslim people out of the over 19lakh people who were excluded from Assam’s National Register of Citizens (NRC) published on August 31.

About the Assam Accord 1985 and NRC

Source: The Hindu


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