Report on Citizenship Bill tabled in Lok Sabha

A report by the Joint Parliamentary Committee on the contentious Citizenship (Amendment) Bill 2016, which seeks to provide Indian citizenship to non-Muslims from Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan was tabled in Lok Sabha on Monday.

The bill is expected to be discussed in the lower house on Tuesday.

The report was prepared by the Joint Parliamentary Committee by a majority vote as opposition members in the panel had objected to the provisions saying Indian citizenship cannot be granted on the basis of religion and it is against the Constitution.

Some of the opposition members have also given dissent notes over this.

BJP allies, the Shiv Sena and the JD(U), have already said that they will also oppose the bill.

The bill seeks to amend Citizenship Act 1955 to grant Indian nationality to people from minority communities -- Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christians -- from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan after six years of residence in India instead of 12 even if they don't possess any proper document.

This was an election promise of the BJP in 2014.

The Congress, Trinamool Congress, CPI(M) and a few other parties have been steadfastly opposing the bill claiming that citizenship can't be given on the basis of religion.

Various members from opposition parties have been asserting that citizenship is a constitutional provision and it cannot be based on religion, as India is a secular nation.

(Agencies)