All About Citizenship Amendment Bill (CAB) 2019

DefenceXP Author / 12 December 2019

Hello Defence Lovers, As we all know that India is the only country in the world that has justified the slogan of 'Unity in diversity'. In our country the case of infiltrators has been a subject of discussion for quite some time and to drive the intruders out of the country the first work on the National Civil Register (NRC) was done in Assam. But there was a dispute about NRC that a large number of such people are also excluded from the list of citizenship who are the original inhabitants of the country.The National Register of Citizens (NRC) was updated in Assam state in 2019, leaving out 1.9 million residents, a majority of whom were Hindus, without citizenship. This matter brought urgency to the bring in the Bill. That is why Now the Citizenship Amendment Bill has been introduced to change the provisions of the Citizenship Act 1955, which will change the rules relating to grant of citizenship. So let us know in this article; what is this bill, what are its features and Why is it opposed by some political parties?

What is Citizenship Amendment Bill, 2019?

  • The Union Cabinet cleared the Citizenship Amendment 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.
  • The Citizenship Amendment Bill,2019 seeks to provide Indian citizenship to illegal refugees from 6 communities coming from Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Afghanistan. 
  • These 6 communities include; Hindu, Buddhist, Sikh, Christian, Jain, and Parsi.
  • Worth to mention that Illegal migrants can be imprisoned or deported under the Foreigners Act, 1946 and the Passport (Entry into India) Act, 1920. These two Acts empower the central government to check the entry, exit and residence of foreigners within India. 
  • The Citizenship Amendment Act, 2016 provided that these illegal migrants of (Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christians communities of Afghanistan, Bangladesh, and Pakistan must stay at least 6 years in India before applying for Indian citizenship through naturalisation.
  • But the current Citizenship (Amendment) Bill 2019 would reduce this period to 5 years from 6 years. So far, 12 years of residence has been the standard eligibility requirement for naturalisation.
  • (Citizenship Amendment Bill) एक ऐसा बिल है जो कि पाकिस्तान, बांग्लादेश और अफगानिस्तान से आने वाले 6 समुदायों के अवैध शरणार्थियों को भारत की नागरिकता देने की बात करता है. इन 6 समुदायों में शामिल हैं; हिंदू, बौद्ध, सिख, ईसाई, जैन और पारसी।बाकि इन देशों से आने वाले मुसलमानों को यह नागरिकता नहीं दी जाएगी और यही भारत में इसके विरोध की जड़ है. 
  • मौजूदा समय में किसी व्यक्ति को भारत की नागरिकता हासिल करने के लिए कम से कम पिछले 12 साल से यहां रहना अनिवार्य है। इस नियम को आसान बनाकर नागरिकता हासिल करने की अवधि को 5 साल से लेकर 6 साल करना है यानी इन तीनों देशों के ऊपर उल्लिखित छह धर्मों के बीते 5 से छह सालों में भारत आकर बसे लोगों को नागरिकता मिल सकेगी। आसान शब्दों में कहा जाए तो भारत के तीन मुस्लिम बहुसंख्यक पड़ोसी देशों से आए गैर मुस्लिम प्रवासियों को नागरिकता देने के नियम को आसान बनाना है।)


  • The Citizenship (Amendment) Bill proposes to grant citizenship to the non-Muslims Hindus, Sikhs, Christians, Buddhist, Jains and Parsis -- from Afghanistan, Pakistan and Bangladesh who arrived in India before December 31, 2014.
  • In other words, the CAB paves way for Indian citizenship to lakhs of immigrants, who identify themselves with any of the given religions, even if they lacked any document to prove their residency. It also means that any immigrant who does not belong to the said communities would not be eligible for Indian citizenship.
  • Also, as per the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, any illegal immigrant from Afghanistan, Pakistan and Bangladesh who belongs to these said communities will not be deported or imprisoned if they are not carrying any valid documents for their residency in India.
  • Earlier, the duration of the immigrants' residency was 11 years. The amended bill has reduced it to five years. This means that immigrants from the three countries and from the mentioned religions, who have entered India before December 31, 2014, would not be treated as illegal immigrants.

Why This Bill is Opposed?

  • Basically this bill is opposed because it does not give citizenship to illegal migrants of Muslim community from these 3 countries. Another reason behind its criticism is that it violates the provisions of article 14 of the Indian Constitution.
  • So these were some provisions of the Citizenship Amendment Act, 2019 which gives Indian citizenship to illegal migrants of 3 countries.
  • However, some people are arguing that this amendment is a violation of Article 14 of the Constitution as it opposes discrimination with anyone based only on caste, religion, sex, and place, etc. Hopefully, the government will take the right decision after listening to all sections of the country.
  • (विपक्ष का सबसे बड़ा विरोध यह है कि इसमें खासतौर पर मुस्लिम समुदाय को निशाना बनाया गया है। उनका तर्क है कि यह संविधान के अनुच्छेद 14 का उल्लंघन है जो समानता के अधिकार की बात करता है।)

What is Centre's logic behind the bill?

  • Centre says these minority groups have come escaping persecution in Muslim-majority nations. However, the logic is not consistent – the bill does not protect all religious minorities, nor does it apply to all neighbours.
  • The Ahmedia Muslim sect and even Shias face discrimination in Pakistan. Rohingya Muslims and Hindus face persecution in neighbouring Burma, and Hindu and Christian Tamils in neighbouring Sri Lanka. The government responds that Muslims can seek refuge in Islamic nations, but has not answered the other questions.

Why is Assam angry about it?

  • Among the states in the Northeast, the outrage against CAG has been the most intense in Assam. While a chunk of these states have been exempted from the legislation, CAB overs a large part of Assam. The protests stem from the fear that illegal Bengali Hindu migrants from Bangladesh, if regularised under CAB, will threaten cultural and linguistic identities of the state.
  • (बता दें कि पूर्वोत्तर क्षेत्र में एक बड़े वर्ग का कहना है कि अगर नागरिकता संशोधन विधेयक को लागू किया जाता है तो पूर्वोत्तर के मूल लोगों के सामने पहचान और आजीविका का संकट पैदा हो जाएगा।)

Jai Hind

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