The Lok Sabha today passed the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill 2019. The Bill seeks to grant Indian Citizenship to persons belonging to Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, Parsi and Christian communities who have migrated to India after facing persecution on grounds of religion in Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh, if they fulfil conditions for grant of citizenship.

Rationale given by government

Replying to the debate, Shri Shah said that misconceptions are being spread about the bill that it is against any particular community, but this is a humanitarian step to grant citizenship to those who suffered for the last 70 years. He said that failure of the Nehru-Liaqat pact of 1950 is also one of the reasons of bringing about this Bill. Under Nehru-Liaqat pact, India and Pakistan agreed to provide non-discriminatory treatment to minorities.

Where the bill does not apply?

Shri Shah said that the provisions of the amendments to the Act would not apply to tribal area of Assam, Meghalaya, Mizoram or Tripura as included in the Sixth Schedule to the Constitution and the area covered under ‘The Inner Line’ notified under the Bengal Eastern Frontier Regulation, 1873.

What is the main provision?

The Bill also seeks to amend the Third Schedule to the Act to make applicants belonging to the said communities from the aforesaid countries eligible for citizenship by naturalisation if they can establish their residency in India for five years instead of the existing eleven years.

Source: PIB

Relevant for GS Prelims & Mains Paper II; Polity & Governance