- Context: Partition’s long shadow is evident on the Citizenship Amendment Bill, which seeks to introduce a religious distinction in the law. It must be debated
- Highlights of the bill:
- The Bill amends the Citizenship Act, 1955 to make illegal migrants who are Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christians from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan, eligible for citizenship.
- Under the Act, one of the requirements for citizenship by naturalisation is that the applicant must have resided in India during the last 12 months, and for 11 of the previous 14 years.
- The Bill provides that the registration of Overseas Citizen of India (OCI) cardholders may be cancelled if they violate any law.
- The Bill relaxes this 11 year requirement to six years for persons belonging to the same six religions and three countries.
- Issue #1: The Bill makes illegal migrants eligible for citizenship on the basis of religion. This may violate Article 14 of the Constitution which guarantees right to equality.
- Issue #2: 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!
Note: Keep a note of these two issues, leave the rest. This edit was written with a regional outlook (specifically that of Assam) and we have removed those parts. It’s better that we keep in mind the universal issues and challenges.