New Delhi: The Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday cleared the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill 2016, hours after a Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) submitted its report on the contentious Bill in the Lok Sabha.
With the Cabinet’s clearance, the Bill is likely to be introduced in the Lok Sabha for its clearance on Tuesday.
The Bill seeks to provide Indian citizenship to non-Muslims from Bangladesh, Afghanistan and Pakistan.
The Bill, which was earlier introduced in the Lok Sabha in 2016, was forwarded to the JPC for further review and necessary recommendations.
The fresh Bill seeks to amend the Citizenship Act 1955 to grant Indian nationality to people from minority communities such as Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christians from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan after six years of residence in India instead of 12 years even if they do not possess any proper documents.
The JPC report was prepared with a majority vote while the opposition members had opposed the move to grant citizenship to such people on the basis of religion, saying it’s against the Constitution.
“The present government is now determining citizenship on the basis of religion,” quipped senior Left leader Nilutpal Basu.
The Congress, Trinamool Congress, CPI-M and JDU have been steadfastly opposing the Bill, claiming that citizenship cannot be given on the basis of religion as India is a secular nation. They have even given dissent notes in the report.
Interestingly, BJP ally Shiv Sena has also announced that it will oppose the Bill in Parliament.
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