‘Won’t budge on citizenship Bill’

  1. Meghalaya Chief Minister has said that his party, the National People’s Party, would continue to oppose the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill.
  2. The Citizenship (Amendment) Bill amends the Citizenship Act, 1955. The bill seeks to make illegal migrants who are Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christians from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan, eligible for Indian citizenship. The Bill also seeks to reduce the requirement of 11 years of continuous stay in the country to six years to obtain citizenship by naturalisation.
  3. The bill has been highly criticised and opposed by intelligentsia, different political parties and by common people across north-east India.  The major issues with the bill are: a) Violation of Article 14 (equality before the law) as it seeks to grant citizenships to illegal migrants on the basis of religion, b) against basic structure of the Constitution as it undermines secularism, c) would undermine the rights of indigenous people of North-East India and would aggravate the migrant issue.
  4. The bill was passed in the Lok Sabha in January 2019.  However, the bill lapsed as it could not be passed in the Rajya Sabha