Lok Sabha passed the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2019. The legislation seeks to make it easier for non-Muslim refugees from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan to gain citizenship in the country. The legislation is applicable to groups who arrived in India on or before December 31, 2014. Also, the bill makes amendments to the provision related to OCI (Overseas Citizen of India) cardholders. A foreigner may register as an OCI under the 1955 Act if they are of Indian origin or the spouse of a person of Indian origin. The benefit will entire to such benefits as of right to travel to India and to work and study in the country. The amend Bill act allow to cancellation of OCI registration if a person has violated any law notified by the central government.
The bill says that on acquiring citizenship:
- Such persons shall be deemed to be citizens of India from the date of their entry into India, and
- All legal proceedings against them in respect of their illegal migration or citizenship will be closed.
The Bill says that the provisions on citizenship for illegal migrants will not apply to the tribal areas of Assam, Meghalaya, Mizoram, or Tripura, as included in the Sixth Schedule to the Constitution. These tribal areas include Karbi Anglong (in Assam), Garo Hills (in Meghalaya), Chakma District (in Mizoram), and Tripura Tribal Areas District. It will also not apply to the areas under the Inner Line” under the Bengal Eastern Frontier Regulation, 1873. The Inner Line Permit regulates visit of Indians to Arunachal Pradesh, Mizoram, and Nagaland.