The Citizenship Amendment Bill shortly known as CAB was approved by Prime Minister Narendra Modi led Union Cabinet on 4 December 2019. The Bill was then introduced in the Parliament and it sought to amend the Citizenship Act of 1955. The CAB was brought in to provide citizenship to the persecuted minorities of three neighbouring states of India i.e. Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan. The communities that will be given citizenship under the Citizenship Amendment Act(CAA) are Hindus, Sikhs, Jains, Buddhists, Christians and Parsis. However, the catch is that only those will be given citizenship act who entered India as refugees before 2014. For others, they will have to go through the old citizenship act of 1955.
The bill does not take away the right of citizenship from any Indian citizen in any way. It just reduces the time period from 11 years(under the Citizenship act of 1955) to 5 years, for the refugees from persecuted communities to become a permanent citizen of the Republic of India. The opposition targeted the government saying that the bill is discriminatory as it leaves out the Muslim community. The government’s counter to the opposition’s argument is that the bill was brought in to give citizenship to the persecuted communities of the three countries and Muslims are not one of the persecuted communities as all three countries(Pak, Bangladesh and Afghanistan) are Islamic nations. The Bill was passed by the Lok Sabha on 10th of December 2019 with 311 votes. It eventually became an act after it was cleared by the Hon’ble President of India Ramnath Kovind on 13th of December 2019.