The Citizenship Amendment Bill 2019 (CAB) is a bill with an amendment in the Citizenship Act of 1955, which proposed that any person belonging to Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, Parsi or Christian community from Afghanistan, Bangladesh or Pakistan, who entered into India on or before the 31st day of December, 2014 and who has been exempted by the Central Government by or under clause (c) of sub-section (2) of section 3 of the Passport (Entry into India) Act, shall not be treated as illegal migrant for the purposes of this Act. It also seeks to relax the requirement of residence in India for citizenship by naturalisation from 11 years to 5 years for these migrants.
The Union Cabinet cleared this Bill on 4 December 2019. It was passed by the Lok Sabha on 10 December 2019 and, subsequently, in the Rajya Sabha on 11 December 2019. It came into effect on 12 December 2019 there by becoming a law.
Provisions under Citizenship Amendment Bill 2019
- Under the Act, one of the requirements for citizenship by naturalization is that the applicant must have resided in India during the last 12 months, and for 11 of the previous 14 years. The Bill relaxes this 11-year requirement to five years for persons belonging to the same six religions and three countries.
- The bill exempts the tribal areas of Assam, Meghalaya, Mizoram, and Tripura, included in the Sixth Schedule to the Constitution from its applicability. These tribal areas include Karbi Anglong in Assam, Garo Hills in Meghalaya, Chakma district in Mizoram, and Tribal Areas district in Tripura.
- The Bill further seeks to protect the constitutional guarantee given to indigenous populations of North Eastern States covered under the Sixth Schedule to the Constitution and the statutory protection given to areas covered under “The Inner Line” system of the Bengal Eastern Frontier Regulation, 1873.
- The Bill further seeks to grant immunity to the migrant of the aforesaid Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, Parsi and Christian communities so that any proceedings against them regarding in respect of their status of migration or citizenship does not bar them from applying for Indian citizenship.
- The Bill includes new provisions for cancellation the registration of Overseas Citizenship of India (OCI) such as registration through fraud, in case of OCI holder sentenced to imprisonment for two or more years within five years of registration and in necessity in the interest of sovereignty and security of India. It also includes a provision on violation of any law notified by the central government. It also adds the opportunity for the OCI holder to be heard before the cancellation.
- Kerala has become the first state in India to pass a resolution demanding rollback of the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA)
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