The joint committee of Parliamentarians looking into the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016 has been given more time to submit its report, with the Lok Sabha on Thursday approving a proposal in this regard. During Zero Hour, the proposal seeking more time to submit the report was moved by the panel’s head and BJP member Satyapal Singh amidst din, and the same was approved by the House.
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Lok Sabha has extended the “time for presentation of the Report of the Joint Committee on The Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016 up to the first day of the last week of the Budget Session (2017) of Parliament”.
The original Citizenship Act, passed in 1955, defines the concept of Indian citizenship and lists out ways to acquire the same, explicitly denying citizenship to all undocumented migrants.
An illegal migrant, the Act states, “is a foreigner who enters India without a valid passport or travel documents or stays beyond the permitted time”.
A key amendment in the new bill, however, seeks to grant citizenship to people without valid documents from minority communities —- Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christians —- from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan after six years of residence in India. In the Citizenship Act, 1955, a new proviso is to be inserted.
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“Provided that persons belonging to minority communities, namely Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christians from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan, who have been exempted by the Central Government by or under clause (c) of sub-section (2) of section 3 of the Passport (Entry into India) Act, 1920 or from the application of the provisions of the Foreigners Act, 1946 or any order made thereunder, shall not be treated as illegal migrants for the purposes of this Act,” as per the proposed amendment.
The Lok Sabha saw a united opposition making a vociferous demand for a debate on demonetisation under a rule which entails voting, forcing the adjournment of the House for the day as the government refused to accept it.