The Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2019 (CAB) is a law amending the 1955 Citizenship Act to give Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christians from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan who entered India on or before December 31, 2014, a path to Indian citizenship. It also aims to reduce the residency requirement for citizenship in India by naturalizing these migrants from 11 years to 5 years. According to IB reports, the Bill’s immediate beneficiaries will be just over 30,000 people.
The Bill was approved by the Union Cabinet on December 4, 2019. It was passed on 10 December 2019 by the Lok Sabha and then on 11 December 2019 in the Rajya Sabha. It entered into force on December 12, 2019. More than 1,000 Indian scientists and scholars signed a petition against the bill. The bill was also criticized by the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom. Some of the bill’s opponents claim it legalizes discrimination by religion.
The Rajya Sabha passed on Wednesday the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill or CAB, which grants Indian citizenship to Afghan, Pakistan and Bangladesh non–Muslims. The Citizenship (Amendment) Bill is now going to go to the President for his approval. For the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill and 99 against it, as many as 125 lawmakers voted.
Following six hours of parliamentary debate, the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill vote in Rajya Sabha was taken up. Chairman and Vice President Venkaiah Naidu Rajya Sabha had given the six–hour time to the MPs to address the Indian Citizenship Bill.
Who can get Citizenship according to CAB?
The Citizenship (Amendment) Bill proposes granting citizenship to the Hindus, Sikhs, Christians, Buddhists, Jains, and Parsis non-Muslims — from Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Bangladesh who arrived in India before December 31, 2014. In other words, the CAB paves the way for Indian citizenship for immigrant lakhs who associate with any of the religions in question, even if there was no report to prove their residence. It also means that any immigrant not belonging to the said groups would not qualify for Indian citizenship.
Also, according to the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, any illegal immigrants from Afghanistan, Pakistan and Bangladesh who belong to those communities will not be deported or imprisoned unless they have valid documents for their residence in India.