Since nobody reads legislation anymore (even lawyers apparently), here's my attempt at dispelling a few myths on the Citizenship Amendment Bill (CAB) on the basis of certain social media posts I have been seeing:
- This bill applies only to ‘illegal migrants’ who meet all four criteria: a) non-Muslims, b) from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan; c) who came to India prior to 31 December 2014, and d) who enjoy the benefit of the waiver of Foreigners Act and Passports Act.
- The Bill does not prohibit Muslims from all countries from becoming registered or naturalised citizens of India. The legal process by which say, Adnan Sami became a citizen of India, is still there in Section 7 of the Citizenship Act.
CAB Does Not Grant Citizenship Automatically
- No one beyond the 30,000 or so people who meet all the criteria mentioned in point number 1, needs to register anything with anyone, and they too need to do it if they want Indian citizenship.
- The CAB does not grant anyone citizenship automatically — each of the 30,000 individuals mentioned in point number 3 have to apply, and they are not automatically granted citizenship. It does, however, prevent a large section of illegal migrants from even applying, when others like them are permitted to do so.
Citizenship Bill Doesn’t Change Status of An Existing Citizen of India
- The Citizenship Amendment Bill does not change the status of anyone who is already a citizen of India.
- This is NOT an NRC. There is no talk of a National Register of Citizens in the CAB.
- The CAB will NOT help anyone who has been excluded from the NRC process in Assam. In fact, even if a ‘nation-wide’ NRC were to be introduced tomorrow, the CAB would not help anyone who has been left out of the process.
Is the CAB unconstitutional nevertheless? Absolutely. Should people demand its recall and redrafting? Absolutely.
Should people on my social media timeline expand their understanding of world history beyond Germany circa 1933-1945? Hell, yes.
(This piece originally appeared on the author’s Facebook profile and has been republished with permission. You can read the original here.)
(Alok Prasanna Kumar is an advocate based in Bengaluru. This is an opinion piece and the views expressed above are the author’s own. The Quint neither endorses nor is responsible for the same.)
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