Citizenship (Amendment) Bill push in Rajya Sabha on December 11

Our Bureau | Updated on December 10, 2019 Published on December 10, 2019

The Bill was passed in the Lok Sabha with 311 members favouring it and 80 voting against it.    -  The Hindu

An uproarious debate in Lok Sabha ended in the passage at midnight on Monday, Government is confident of getting Upper House approval for the proposed law that makes religion the basis of citizenship in India

The ruling BJP will bring the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill in the Rajya Sabha on Wednesday after its midnight passage in the Lok Sabha on Monday.

The weekly meeting of the BJP's parliamentary party too has been scheduled for Wednesday.

A heated debate during the passage of the bill in the Lower House has accompanied simultaneous protests in the North East, especially in Assam, over the proposed law which bases citizenship on religion. The BJP expects get the adequate numbers for the passage of the bill in the Rajya Sabha where it does not command a majority.

The Bill was passed in the Lok Sabha with 311 members favouring it and 80 voting against it. Several amendments brought by opposition members, including one by a Shiv Sena MP, were defeated either by voice vote or division.The debate in the Lok Sabha was steered mostly by Home Minister Amit Shah. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who was not in the House, tweeted around midnight that that the Bill is "in line with India's centuries old ethos of assimilation and belief in humanitarian values".

Also read: Lok Sabha passes Citizenship (Amendment) Bill

The 245-member Rajya Sabha has a current strength of 238 and the BJP needs 120 votes to pass the proposed law that has been dubbed ultra vires of the Constitution by the Opposition as it is violative of fundamental rights, especially as it discriminates on the ground of religion for grant of citizenship.

The NDA's total strength is 102 but with the AIADMK (11 MPs), BJD (7 MPs) and Janata Dal (United) with its 6 MPs, a party that has done the most fantastic U-Turn after having opposed the bill stridently in the NDA's previous term, the ruling coalition hopes to pass the bill easily.

The most critical part of the proposed law pertains to inserting a provision in Section 2 of the Citizenship Act, 1952 to change the definition of “illegal immigrant” to include persons belonging to Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, Parsi and Christian communities from Afghanistan, Pakistan and Bangladesh.

The bill excludes areas in the North Eastern parts covered by the Inner Line Permit regime and the areas under the Sixth Schedule. Amit Shah addressed protestors in Assam on Monday and everywhere else where the influential North East Students Organisation has announced a shutdown on Tuesday and said, “I just want to tell the people that all objections posed by the North Eastern states have been addressed in the bill. There is no reason to get excited,” he said, pointing out that while Nagaland and Mizoram remain protected by the Inner Line Permit, Manipur has also been excluded in view of the people’s objections to the proposed bill.

Protests have been staged in Assam against the bill as it is in violation of the Assam Accord of August 15, 1985 that protects the socio-cultural and linguistic identity of the Assamese through the insertion of Section 6A in the principal Act. The proposal to legalise minority migrants who entered Assam till December 31, 2014 as opposed to the earlier cut-off date of March 25, 1971 arrived at through the Assam Accord.

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Published on December 10, 2019
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