Reopening the Wounds of Partition
Hey people, today we are going to talk about CAB & NRC one of the hottest topics of current days which shook the nation for quite a while. This bill has divided nation in two lobbies one who was in favour of the bill and others who were against it in lack of knowledge. So I decided to throw so light on this topic.
Citizenship Amendment Bill (CAB):
The Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2019 was passed on 11 December 2019. It amended the Citizenship Act of 1955 and provided a path to Indian citizenship for Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, Parsi, and Christian who had fled persecution from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan before December 2014. Muslims were not given such eligibility. This act was the first time religious criterion for citizenship under Indian law.
The current ruling party Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which leads the Indian government, had promised in the previous election to offer Indian citizenship to give protection to religious minorities from neighbouring countries. Under the 2019 amendment, migrants who had entered India on or before 31 December 2014, and had suffered “religious discrimination or fear of religious persecution” in their country of origin were made eligible for citizenship. The amendment also helped the residency requirement for naturalization of these migrants from eleven years to five. According to the Intelligence Bureau of India Instant beneficiaries of this bill, will be 31,313 refugees: 25,447 Hindus, 5,807 Sikhs, 55 Christians, 2 Buddhists and 2 Parsis.
The amendment has been widely criticised as discriminating on the basis of religion, in particular for excluding Muslims. The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights called it “fundamentally impossible to accept”, adding that while India’s “goal to protect persecuted groups is welcome”, this should be accomplished through a non-discriminatory “robust national asylum system”.
This bill was enacted by Lok Sabha passed on 10th December 2019 and enacted by Rajya Sabha and passed on 11th December 2019 and assented to 12th December 2019 this bill was signed by President of India Ram Nath Kovind.
The legislative history of this bill is that bill introduced in the Lok sabha under bill no- 370 of 2019. This bill was published on 9th December 2019, and introduced by Amit shah minister of home affairs. Its first reading was done on 9th December 2019 and the second reading was done on 10th December 2019 and third reading was done on 11th December 2019.
This amendment was criticised as discrimination on the basis of religion, particularly for excluding Muslims. The passage of the legislature was full of protest and disagreements. Many states had shown violent behaviour against this bill. These protests had led to the deaths of several protestors, injuries and damage to public and private properties, phone connectivity and internet services were suspended in many areas. The Union Home Ministry stated that states lack the legal power to stop the implementation of the CAA.
National Register of Citizens (NRC):
The National Register of Citizens (NRC) is a register of all Indian citizens creation mandated by The Citizenship Act 1955 as amended in 2003. Its implementation was done for the state of Assam between 2013–2014. The government plans to implement it in the rest of the country by 2021. According to the Citizenship Rules, 2003, the centre can issue an order to prepare the NPR and create the NRC based on the data gathered from the National Population Register (NPR). It further states that the local officials will decide if the person’s name will be added to the NRC or not, in order to decide his citizenship status. No new rules or laws are needed to conduct this exercise in the whole of India.
Assam, being a border state with different kinds of problems of illegal immigration, NRC for the state was created in 1951 based on the 1951 census data. It was not maintained afterwards. The Illegal Migrants (Determination by Tribunal) Act was passed by the Parliament creating a separate tribunal process for identifying illegal migrants in Assam. The Supreme Court of India stated it as unconstitutional in 2005, after which the Government of India agreed to update the Assam NRC.
The ruling government has promised to implement the NRC all over India in its election manifesto and during its speeches while campaigning for the 2019 General Election. On 19th November 2019, Home minister Amit Shah declared in the Rajya Sabha that the NRC will be implemented throughout the country.