This article is written by Shambhavi, a student of Banasthali Vidyapeeth.
Citizenship Amendment Bill or CAB, provides citizenship of India to those non- Muslims of Afghanistan, Pakistan and Bangladesh who are in minority and are facing religious persecution, and also to members of these minorities who have migrated to India before December 31, 2014.
According to the Bill, any day- crosser from Afghanistan, Pakistan and Bangladesh who is ian adherent of the said communities will not be extradited or imprisoned if they are not carrying contractual or justifiable documents for their condominium in India. In other words, the CAB lay the foundations for Indian citizenship to lakhs of day crossers who discerned themselves with any of the given religions, even if they deficit any document to authenticate their residency.
The Bill also includes two additional prerequisites on citizenship of illegal immigrants of these religions from the three countries. Further, the Bill adds that the provisions on citizenship for illegal migrants will not apply to tribal areas of Assam, Meghalaya, Mizoram, or Tripura, as included in the Sixth Schedule to the Constitution.
National Register of Citizens or NRC is a process sighted at doffing illegal immigrants from India. This operation was lately accomplished in Assam. However, in present scenario the NRC is effectuated all over India.
Under National Register of Citizens, a person is competent to be a citizen of India if they substantiate that either they or their progenitor were in India on or before March 24, 1971. The Assam NRC operation was commenced to prune out illegitimate Bangladeshi immigrants, who came into India during the India- Pakistan war in 1971, which led to the origination of Bangladesh.
Though both Citizenship Amendment Bill or CAB and National Register of Citizens or NRC are opposed nationwide but there are some major differences between both. These are:
1. CAB will provide Indian Citizenship based on religion while on the other hand NRC has nothing to do with the religion.
2. CAB is likely to perquisite non-Muslim day-crossers, whereas, NRC is intended to repatriation of all illegal day-crosser irrespective of their religions.
3. CAB endows citizenship to non – Muslim day-crossers from Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh while NRC in Assam was pursued at recognizing illegitimate day- crossers mostly from Bangladesh.
Basically, the Home Ministry clarified that the CAB has nothing to do with NRC.The Ministry stated that the legal provisions of NRC have been a part of the Citizenship Act, 1955 since December 2004. There are also precise statutory rules of 2003 to invoke the legal provisions. The provisions superintend the process of registration of Indian citizens and the dissemination of national identity cards to them. The Ministry said that the CAB has not permuted the legal provision in any way and added saying that the propitious rules under CAB are being composed.
Though by recognising only non – Muslim communities and excluding Muslims from the provisions of CAB it is very unfaithful for those Muslims who bear the Muslim identity but face persecution and threat on their fundamental rights and life. The terminology used in the Bill is not the problem at the ideological level but the wretched conception behind it is the main disturbing element. It seems like that the Bill passed in the Indian Parliament is based on communal specification. Consequently, law fails to address the social layers, hierarchies, and nuances of alienation that these ideological orphans are subject to. It is to paint with a very wide brush and in blood, to say that only religious minorities face communal oppression, or that it is only the non-Muslim communities that suffer at the hands of the parties of God in Afghanistan, Bangladesh, and Pakistan.
Under the Preamble and in certain articles of the Constitution the Government is prohibited to premise any legislature based on religion. The Secular ethos opens up space where an individual can be granted and guaranteed rights on their own virtues – ideally by the virtue of being born as epitomised in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948, to which, India voted favourably.
As we celebrate the International Human Rights Day on 10th of December, space for the individual to be emancipated from the identity and categories of religion shrinks. We turn our faces away from people who face oppression at the hands of religious extremism but are not ‘persecuted enough’ for us to recognise them as eligible for asylum in the world’s largest democracy. They face discrimination under this Bill on account of their Muslim identity.
The United Nation’s Human Rights Body termed the Citizenship Amendment Bill as Fundamentally discriminatory in nature; the redrafted law would occur to erode the adherence to equality before the law manifested in India’s Constitution and India’s devoir under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the Convention for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, to which Indian is a State party, which interdict discrimination on the basis of racial, ethnic or religious grounds.