All about Citizen Amendment Bill

The Citizenship (Amendment) Bill or CAB, which grants Indian citizenship to the non-Muslims of Afghanistan, Pakistan and Bangladesh, was passed by the Rajya Sabha on Wednesday. The Citizenship (Amendment) Bill will now go to the President for his assent. As many as 125 lawmakers voted in the favour of the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill and 99 against it.

The Citizenship (Amendment) Bill voting in Rajya Sabha was taken up after six hours of debate on the legislation. Rajya Sabha Chairman and Vice President Venkaiah Naidu had allotted the six-hour time to the MPs to discuss the Indian citizenship bill.

Besides the Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP), the CAB was supported by JD(U), SAD, AIADMK, BJD, TDP and YSR-Congress. The Shiv Sena did not participate in the voting. The citizenship bill was on Monday passed by the Lok Sabha with a majority of 311 votes against 80. Here is all you need to know about the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill or CAB:


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.


The Citizenship (Amendment) Bill exempts certain areas in the North-East from this provision.

The Citizenship (Amendment) Bill would not apply to tribal areas of Assam, Meghalaya, Mizoram and Tripura as included in Sixth Schedule of the Constitution and the area covered under the Inner Limit notified under the Bengal Eastern Frontier Regulation, 1873.

This effectively means that Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland and Mizoram along with almost whole of Meghalaya and parts of Assam and Tripura would stay out of the purview of the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill.

Besides, the citizenship bill also makes amendments to provisions related to the Overseas Citizens of India (OCI) cardholders.

As per the citizenship bill, a foreigner may register as an OCI under the 1955 Act if they are of Indian origin (e.g., former citizen of India or their descendants) or the spouse of a person of Indian origin.

The Citizenship (Amendment) Bill entitles the OCI cardholders to benefits such as the right to travel to India, and to work and study in the country. The Citizenship Bill, which was passed in the Rajya Sabha, amends the Act to allow cancellation of OCI registration if the person has violated any law notified by the Central government.


The Opposition parties severely criticised the passage of the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill by Parliament, with Congress interim president Sonia Gandhi saying it marks a "dark day" in the constitutional history of India and is a "victory of narrow-minded and bigoted forces" over the country's pluralism.

Several senior Congress leaders indicated that the party may move the Supreme Court against the citizenship bill with Abhishek Singhvi saying that the legislation will be legally challenged in the near future as it is "highly suspect" in terms of constitutionality.

Hitting out at Home Minister Amit Shah over his remarks in support of the Bill, senior Congress leader P Chidambaram told reporters, "The Home Minister says 130 crore people are supporting us, obviously he does not count Assam, Northeast and all other protesters as part of the 130 crore."

"No one in the government would take responsibility for the content of the CAB or its constitutionality. The intent of the Bill is to tell the Muslims 'you are not equal human beings with equal rights'," P Chidambaram said on Twitter.


Former prime minister HD Deve Gowda on Wednesday said he was opposed to the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill as "it will totally destroy minorities and is unconstitutional".

The Janata Dal (Secular) president said the Bill was contrary to the principles of secularism and other rights incorporated in the Constitution.

"You can't go against secularism and other constitutional principles," HD Deve Gowda said, adding, "I can't support such a Bill as it would create unrest in the country.

Trinamool MP Derek O'Brien too termed the Bill as "unconstitutional" and warned of people's movement against the Bill. He also said it would be challenged in the Supreme Court. He said the present bill has been drawn from "Nazi Coffee Book" and is part of BJP's "agenda".

Samajwadi Party MP Javed Ali Khan said through the proposed legislation, the BJP was fulfilling the dream of Muhammad Ali Jinnah, the founder of Pakistan.


To repeated questions from the Opposition of Muslims being left out, Home Minister Amit Shah said Muslims from other countries have the right to apply for Indian citizenship as per existing rules. As many as 566 Muslims have been given citizenship, he said.

He attacked opposition the Congress saying statements by the party's leaders match those of Pakistani leaders on not just the citizenship bill but also on scrapping of Article 370.

Amit Shah said the bill seeks to correct the wrong done by the partition of the country on religious lines. He went on to attack the Congress for alleged doublespeak on the issue, saying the party had during its rule given Indian citizenship to 13,000 Hindus and Sikhs from Pakistan without raising a word about the same for other communities.

He also said the bill does not violate Article 14 of the Constitution as it does not prohibit laws based on reasonable classification. more  

View all 44 comments Below 44 comments
No refugees should be made citizens. All Muslim refugees must be sent back. Others can be kept in refugee camps with the funds to be provided by UN. India is not economically strong to absorb the refugees. Any refugee who has acquired citizenship by false means must be deported to wherever they came from or put back in camps. Making Rohingaya or other muslim refugees as citizens will alter the demography which is now under pressure due to excessive breading by this community. more  
I would say and request Govt. that those who does came to India After 1995 or suitable year may 1971 and staying without proper document before that date should be decleared non citizen>Because many peoples came to India and earlier govt and our corrupt administration every state have given then the Ration Card,Voter I and now Addhar card also and now they are claiming the citizen ship and it should be cancelled. more  
The intrigues of Separatists and those Support POK to Pak HAVE SO PLANTED . Citizenship must be in terms of Articles mandated AND SECURITY CONCERN OF COUNTRY' s SOVEREIGNTY more  
You people are not able to understand the repurcussions down the line. This might lead to a civil war down the line. Why is it Hindus & Christians from Sri Lanka not allowed? Because they are South Indians and none of them are from upper caste Hindus?
Tamils have been refugees here since decades. India had actually sent IPKF to Sri Lanka to witness it and everyone in the world acknowledges that they were persecuted by the Buddhists of Sri Lanka.
So, how come Hindus from any other country are not given asylum for religion persecution. What about Hindus in Gulf countries? If a woman is raped by her employer in Saudi, then what does the government do, whichever religion she belongs and when she is originally from India?
Think it through people.
First, India is economically still backward, bursting at its seams with a burgeoning population who are fighting over land among themselves and with nature and the corporations, the diversity of the population already creates regular friction among the people and now you want to bring in more people?
Where will you settle them? How will you prevent frictions like the Nellie massacre in Assam in future?
India is not just a basket of religions, it is also a basket of various races and various ethnicities with their own unique traditions.
This bill only complicates matters. The government could have simply avoided the bill and given citizenship on an individual case by case basis after persecution has been proved. more  
Everyone should follow Articles 5 ,6,7,8,9 of the Constitution . Those unlawfully Residing cannot claim Citizenship. Citizens of other Countries also cannot claim Citizenship . more  
Another good job of the Modi government. Non-muslims, who are the preys of unfortunate India's partition on two nations theory and were forced to live a contemptible life in those muslim countries will get now justice. In fact non-muslims of these countries are originally Indians and are simply preys of the political conspiracy of our so called leaders and have every rights to get Indian citizenship with ease. I appreciate the movement of the Modi government and its lieutenant Amit Shah. more  
Is this a one-time measure? As seems from the article, the only important factor in the bill is to reduce the residency period from the eatlier 11 years to 05 years only. And this is done to enable the persons who entered the country before 31st December,2014. What is so sacrosanct about this date? And what would happen to those who entered after this date? It seems everything is not well with the Bill. more  
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