Citizen Amendment Bill or popularly known as CAB has been passed in both the houses of Parliament. Under the bill, Hindu, Sikh, Parsi, Buddhist and Christian immigrants from the Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh who have lived in India for six years are covered. These illegal immigrants will be given fast track citizenship in six years. This bill overrides the previous requirement of living for 12 years to get the citizenship.
Parties such as Bhartiya Janta party, JD(U), AIADML, SAD, BJD, TDP and YSR-Congress supported the bill. As a result, the bill was passed in Lok Sabha with the majority of 311 votes against 80 naysayers.
What the Bill says?
The bill says that the immigrants from all the above-mentioned religion who came to India before December 31, 2014 will be granted citizenship through fast track route. This will ensure that lakhs of immigrants who fled these four countries and came to India will be eligible to become the citizen of India. Further, the immigrants who are not from the said community will not be granted the citizenship in India.
Apart from the Muslims immigrants from the mentioned countries, the bill also excludes Srilankan Tamils. Further the Bill also incorporates a sub section (d) to section 7 suggesting for revocation of Overseas Citizen of India registration if the OCI card-holder has dishonored any provisions of the Citizenship Act or any other law in force.
States under purview of the Bill
The Centre has assured that the regulations under the bill would not be applicable to all the seven North Eastern States. The Bill reads, “Nothing in this section shall apply to tribal areas of Assam, Meghalaya, Mizoram or Tripura as included in the Sixth Schedule to the Constitution and the area covered under the ‘Inner Line Permit’ notified under the Bengal Eastern Frontier Regulation, 1873.” These seven states require Indians from other states to obtain ‘Inner Line Permit’ to enter the border. Currently, the states that require the Indians to take such permit are Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland and Mizoram. After the confirmation of the Home Minister, Manipur will also be brought under Inner Line Permit.
Will the Act affect Citizens of India?
The FAQ of the bill says that the act does not impact any existing citizen of India and the rumors resulting in violent protests across the country are the outcome of misinformation. As a result, ministry released the answers to the set of FAQs.
Regarding deporting of the foreigners, the ministry stated that deportation process of foreigner is taken care under the mandate of Foreigners Act, 1946 and/or the Passport (Entry into India) Act, 1920. Upon asking the question about whether or not Muslim immigrants from the above-mentioned countries will be deported under the CAA, the ministry replied, “These two laws govern entry, stay, movement within India and exit from India of all foreigners irrespective of their religion or country. Therefore, the usual deportation process would apply to any illegal foreigner staying in India.”
What is NRC?
National Register of Citizens recognizes the illegal immigrants from Assam on the Supreme Court’s order. This activity is state wise in order to keep the uniqueness and ethnicity in specific states. People who cannot provide the document would be at risk of losing their citizenship. Any of the below mentioned documents would work as proof:
- Electoral Roll
- Birth Certificate
- Ration Card
- Board/University certificate
- Land document
- Bank/LIC/Post Office records
- Village Panchayat secretary certificate for married women
- Any other legally acceptable document