Three Bills were introduced in Lok Sabha today — the Constitution (One Hundred and Twenty-Sixth Amendment) Bill, 2019, the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2019 and the Anti-Maritime Piracy Bill, 2019.
During the introduction of the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2019, many Members opposed the Bill and when the motion to introduce the bill was put to vote, Members called for a division. The House voted in favour of its introduction with 293 Ayes and 82 Noes.
The following issues need to be considered on the Citizenship Bill:
- Differentiating on grounds of religion may violate Article 14 of the Constitution which guarantees equality to all persons, including citizens and foreigners. Article 14 only permits laws to differentiate between groups of people if the rationale for doing so serves a reasonable purpose. The question is whether this provision violates the right to equality under Article 14 of the Constitution as it provides differential treatment to illegal migrants on the basis of (a) their country of origin, (b) religion, (c) date of entry into India, and (d) place of residence in India.
- The Bill may give wide discretion to the government to cancel (XX) OCI registration. It may be argued that giving the central government the power to prescribe the list of laws whose violation may result in cancellation of OCI registration, amounts to an excessive delegation of powers by the legislature.
PRS also wrote a post explaining how citizenship is acquired in India and whether it is reasonable to differentiate among illegal migrants based on country/religion.