Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2019 – All to Know

Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2019

The Union Cabinet has cleared the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2019, or CAB 2019 on Wednesday, and it will be tabled in the Parliament on Monday. Since the discussion started on Citizenship Bill, there is chaos among the people. Politicians from different ideologies have different views about this bill. As the discussed law is connected directly with the basic rules of citizenship in India, so you need to know everything about it.

What Is Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2019

CAB has become a controversial bill that has sparked protests from Delhi to Northeast states. In this session of Parliament, Modi Government wants to get the bill passed from both of the houses on a priority basis. Though the opposition parties are not very happy and satisfied with the law still the government will try to get it approved.

After the bill will get passed in Parliament the definition of Indian citizens will be changed. This move of government might help the country later on, but few people will get affected by it. Here have a look at the significant points of the bill, which have become a point of discussion.  

  • The minorities from the neighboring countries like Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Bangladesh will get Indian citizenship. Only Hindus, Jain, Sikhs, Buddhists, Parsi, and Christians will be eligible to get citizenship. 
  • Any refugee or illegal migrant*, from the religion mentioned above, staying in India from the last six years will become eligible to get the citizenship of the country. Earlier, the time frame was 11 years to apply for Indian citizenship.
  • The new rules will be equally applicable to those who came to India illegally.
  • The bill amends the Citizenship Act, 1955 to offer citizenship to the followers of the above given religions.  

Illegal Migrants*

The term ‘illegal migrants’ is used in the Citizenship Act, 1955, Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016 and Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2019. The illegal migrants are those who have entered India illegally and living here without any papers and citizenship.  

Background of Citizenship Amendment Bill, 2019

The NDA government first introduced the citizen Amendment Bill in 2016. On July 19, 2019, it was tabled in the Lok Sabha. On August 12, 2016, Joint Parliamentary Committee accepted the bill. The report on the bill was submitted by the committee on January 7, 2019. On the very next day, January 8, 2019, members of Lok Sabha passed the bill. In 2016 the law was not introduced in Rajya Sabha; hence, it could not become a law. So now the government wants to re-introduce the legislation in the houses to get it to pass.

Difference Between Citizenship (Amendment) Bill 2016 and Citizenship (Amendment) Bill 2019

The main motive of both of the Bills is the same; to change the rules to provide citizenship to the refuges, but still, there is a minor change. Citizenship (Amendment) Bill 2016 says, ‘to get the citizenship of India; the person will have to be in the country for six years’. According to CAB 2019, applicants who have lived in India for ‘not less than five years’ can apply for citizenship. The amendment in the bill will apply only to the Hindus, Jains, Sikhs, Parsis, Christians, and Buddhists. The change in the 2019 law also offers ‘immunity to persecuted minorities from any proceedings. 

In simple words, the amendments say that illegal immigrants belong to the above mention religions will be immune from any legal action if found staying in the country without any papers for five years or more. Whereas, the Citizenship Act, 1955, says that illegal migrants are either imprisoned or sent back to his country.

Why Bone of Contention On CAB 2019 

 Usually, it happens when the government wants to pass a bill; the opponents oppose it. Still, in the case of Citizen Amendment Bill 2016 and 2019, both the government and the oppositions are behaving like different poles. The opposition parties are saying that this bill is against Muslims. When can India give shelter to people from the neighboring countries follow any one of six religions, then why this indifference with Muslims? This amendment also violets the right of equality mention as article 14 of the Indian constitution. 

On the other hand, the government has a different view. The government believes that the condition of minorities is worst in neighboring countries. So it’s fine to offer shelter to them. For Muslims, there are already a few countries nearby India, so they have many options. 


It would be a challenge for the Modi government to get Citizen Amendment Bill 2019 passed in Parliament. The opposite parties like Congress, SP, and few others have already declared that they are against the bill. In the Lower House, the central government has a majority, so there the bill will get passed. In Rajya sabha also with the help of BJP’s allies and friendly parties, the law may get caught. What are your views on the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2019?

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