In the winter session of the parliament, Lok Sabha passes Citizenship Amendment Bill, 2019, which seeks to provide, citizenship to the non-muslim, minority groups from three countries, i.e. Pakistan, Bangladesh & Afghanistan. Home Minister Rajnath Singh, who introduced the bill, in the winter session of the parliament, said, that the bill will provide citizenship to six communities- Hindus, Jains, Buddhists, Sikhs, Parsis and Christians. He is of the opinion, “that these minorities groups, if not be given Citizenship in India, then where will they go?” Therefore, the union govt. stresses to protect these minorities.
Amendment in the Constitution-
The bills will result in, the amendment with respect to the article of citizenship, in the Constitution. Earlier, in order to acquire Indian Citizenship, minimum 12 years residence proof, in Indian territory, was necessary. But after, the above amendment, only “6years” residence proof, is required, and Indian Citizenship can be obtained. According to the govt, Citizenship will be provided, after proper scrutiny by the govt. Officials. Further, the above amendment is with respect to the non-muslims only. Therefore, the bill seeks to grant Citizenship to the members of six communities, who have come to India until December 31, 2014. The bill further, reduces the mandatory requirement of 12 years stays to 6 years, to be eligible for the Citizenship, even in the absence of any residential proof.
Criticism of the bill
The union govt. is facing a lot of criticism, especially from Congress and other state parties. The Congress has shown, absolute, resentment, about the above proposal, by stating that, “ It is nothing, but just a petty act of vote bank politics.”Opposing the bill, AsaduddinOwaisi, of (AIMIM)said, “The union govt. is making a mistake, by providing citizenship, on the basis of religion. We cannot run, India like Israel.”Trinamool Congress (TMC), Sujatha Roy said, “ The citizenship amendment bill, is against the basic tenets of the Constitution.” Also, the rulers of (TMC) staged a walkout, when the bill was presented in the session of Lok Sabha. Also, according to the leaders of CPI-M, “ The bill will only result in the victimisation of the Bengali Muslims.”
Protests by North Eastern States-The states of North-east India have shown absolute objection and resentment against the bill. States like Mizoram and Meghalaya, have already passed “No to new citizenship amendment bill, resolution, in their respective, state assemblies.” Also, violent protests and economic blockades, have also been staged by several student organizations in these regions. People of Assam, are also, against the new citizenship bill. The reason being, that “the people of North-east region feel that, the bill would be detrimental to the indigenous population of Assam, as the maximum burden of immigrants, will be borne by the state of Assam.” Also, they do not want to share their land, water and other natural resources with these minorities groups, of other countries.” Therefore, Assamese is also, not in the favour of this new amendment bill.
Stand of the Central Govt.
The Union Home Minister, Rajnath Singh, said that “The immigrants, who are staying in India, for a considerable period of time, should be given Indian Citizenship, otherwise, they will have no place to go. Further, it is the duty of the govt. to provide, protection to these minority groups, who have been staying in India, since very long.”
The new bill will further provide them, a valid, legal identity. Also, on the objection from North-eastern states, the Union Home Minister said, that “ It is the duty of the Central Govt. to assure that, the entire burden of the immigrants, shall be shared by the whole of the country, and not just Assam alone. Also, the immigrants will be accommodated, in the 29 states &7 Union territories, and not just North-eastern states.”
Therefore, the new citizenship bill, 2019 will provide citizenship to the non-muslim, immigrants in India. However, the bill is yet to be passed in Rajya Sabha. In order, to become a law, the will have to be passed, in both the houses, with requisite majority, and then the President’s assent is also, necessary. In the midst of chaos, the new bill is having both pros and cons, the most important thing, is its, acceptance, by the citizens of the country.
LEGAL NEWS WRITER- SEHAJ MITTAL.