Citizenship Amendment Bill

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News:The Central Government may introduce a fresh version of the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill in the upcoming winter session of Parliament.

Fact:

About Citizenship amendment bill,2016:

  • The Bill amends the Citizenship Act,1955 to make illegal migrants who belong to certain religious minorities (Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christians) from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan, eligible for citizenship.
  • The Bill seeks to reduce the requirement of 11 years of continuous stay in the country to six years to obtain citizenship by naturalization for these communities belonging to these 3 nations.
  • The Bill provides that the registration of Overseas Citizen of India (OCI) cardholders may be cancelled if they violate any law.

Criticism of the bill:

  • The bill distinguishes illegal immigrants on the basis of religion.Hence,it goes against the fundamental right to equality guaranteed under Article 14 of the Constitution.
  • The Bill allows cancellation of OCI registration for violation of any law. This is a wide ground that may cover a range of violations, including minor offences.
  • The bill would hamper the Assam National Register of Citizens (NRC), which defines all illegal immigrants irrespective of religion on the basis of a cut-off date.