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Opp parties in RS seek consensus on cab

By KALYAN BAROOAH

NEW DELHI, Dec 5 - Outnumbered and outmanoeuvred, the Opposition parties in Rajya Sabha are exploring the possibility of compelling the government to send the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill 2019 to the Parliamentary Standing Committee or constituting a joint parliamentary committee to further vet the Bill.

At least 16 Opposition MPs on Thursday met at Opposition leader (Rajya Sabha) Ghulam Nabi Azad�s chamber in Parliament House and took stock of the situation. They decided to launch a campaign against the Bill in the next five days, which they claimed is anti-tribal and anti-Hindu as it allegedly seeks to divide the Hindu community as well. It was decided to seek help of the smaller regional parties to oppose the Bill. Rajya Sabha MP and APCC president Ripun Bora was summoned to the meeting for his views. The meeting also took note of the unrest in the Northeast over the Bill. The MPs were upset that the Bill has not been circulated among them, so far.

Meanwhile, AGP MP Biren Baishya told newsmen that he is yet to get any instructions from his party leaders on the next course of action. The regional party had no representation when the CAB 2016 was placed in the Parliament.

A senior Congress MP told this newspaper that the Congress is working with the Opposition parties to evolve a consensus.

�The effort will be to force the government to send the Bill to the standing committee for further vetting or constitution of another JPC to study the Bill and gather public opinion,� he said. The ruling BJP is also gauging the mood of the non-NDA parties, while the Congress is talking to some like-minded parties, he said.

Another Congress MP said that the BJP has the numbers and is quite likely to get the Bill passed in Rajya Sabha as well.

It may be recalled that when Article 370 was abrogated, the Bill was passed by Rajya Sabha with 125 votes in favour of government and 61 against it. The next day, the Bill was passed by the Lok Sabha with 370 votes in its favour and 70 against it.

Meanwhile, Business Advisory Committee (BAC) of Rajya Sabha met today but the government was silent about BAC. The BAC of Lok Sabha is meeting on Friday and the government may disclose its plans tomorrow.

According to sources, the government is likely to table the Bill in Lok Sabha on December 9 and schedule it for discussion and passage on December 10. After that the Bill may be introduced in Rajya Sabha, sources said.

Meanwhile, the Cabinet note on CAB said that the Bill proposes an amendment to enable acquisition of Indian citizenship from the date of his entry into India by a person belonging to Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, Parsi or Christian communities from Afghanistan, Bangladesh or Pakistan, who were forced to seek shelter in India due to prosecution on ground of religion or fear of such persecution in his country. The Bill also seeks to empower Central government to specify the authority that will register such a person as citizens of India or grant him a certificate of naturalisation and also prescribe the conditions, restrictions and manner in which such a person will be registered or naturalised.

The Bill will also provide immunity from any proceedings regarding illegal migration or citizenship going on against him before any authority, including Foreigners� Tribunals, courts, and such proceedings shall stand abated on conferment of citizenship.

Second proviso to sub-section (3) has been proposed to ensure that merely an act of making application for citizenship under this section may not lead to deprivation of rights and privileges of such applicants. However, provisions of the proposed new section 6B will not apply to tribal areas of Assam, Meghalaya, Mizoram and Tripura as included in the Sixth schedule of the Constitution and to areas covered under Bengal Eastern Frontier regulation, 19873 (Regulation 5 of 1873).

The Bill will also enable cancellation of registration as Overseas Citizen of India cardholder in case of violations of the provisions of the Citizenship Act. The Bill empowers the Central government to make rules regarding conditions, restrictions and manner for granting citizenship under sub-section (1) of section 6B.

The 6B(2) states that subject to fulfilment of the conditions specified in section 5 or qualifications for naturalisation under the provisions of the Third schedule, a person granted the certificate of registration or certificate of naturalisation under sub-section (1) shall be deemed to be a citizen of India from the date of his entry into India. On and from the date of commencement of CAB 2019, any proceedings pending against a person under this section in respect of illegal migration or citizenship shall stand abated on conferment of citizenship to him.

Provided that such person shall not be disqualified for making application for citizenship under this section on the ground that the proceeding is pending against him and the Central government or authority specified by it shall not reject his application on that ground if he is otherwise found qualified for grant of citizenship under this section.

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Opp parties in RS seek consensus on cab

NEW DELHI, Dec 5 - Outnumbered and outmanoeuvred, the Opposition parties in Rajya Sabha are exploring the possibility of compelling the government to send the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill 2019 to the Parliamentary Standing Committee or constituting a joint parliamentary committee to further vet the Bill.

At least 16 Opposition MPs on Thursday met at Opposition leader (Rajya Sabha) Ghulam Nabi Azad�s chamber in Parliament House and took stock of the situation. They decided to launch a campaign against the Bill in the next five days, which they claimed is anti-tribal and anti-Hindu as it allegedly seeks to divide the Hindu community as well. It was decided to seek help of the smaller regional parties to oppose the Bill. Rajya Sabha MP and APCC president Ripun Bora was summoned to the meeting for his views. The meeting also took note of the unrest in the Northeast over the Bill. The MPs were upset that the Bill has not been circulated among them, so far.

Meanwhile, AGP MP Biren Baishya told newsmen that he is yet to get any instructions from his party leaders on the next course of action. The regional party had no representation when the CAB 2016 was placed in the Parliament.

A senior Congress MP told this newspaper that the Congress is working with the Opposition parties to evolve a consensus.

�The effort will be to force the government to send the Bill to the standing committee for further vetting or constitution of another JPC to study the Bill and gather public opinion,� he said. The ruling BJP is also gauging the mood of the non-NDA parties, while the Congress is talking to some like-minded parties, he said.

Another Congress MP said that the BJP has the numbers and is quite likely to get the Bill passed in Rajya Sabha as well.

It may be recalled that when Article 370 was abrogated, the Bill was passed by Rajya Sabha with 125 votes in favour of government and 61 against it. The next day, the Bill was passed by the Lok Sabha with 370 votes in its favour and 70 against it.

Meanwhile, Business Advisory Committee (BAC) of Rajya Sabha met today but the government was silent about BAC. The BAC of Lok Sabha is meeting on Friday and the government may disclose its plans tomorrow.

According to sources, the government is likely to table the Bill in Lok Sabha on December 9 and schedule it for discussion and passage on December 10. After that the Bill may be introduced in Rajya Sabha, sources said.

Meanwhile, the Cabinet note on CAB said that the Bill proposes an amendment to enable acquisition of Indian citizenship from the date of his entry into India by a person belonging to Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, Parsi or Christian communities from Afghanistan, Bangladesh or Pakistan, who were forced to seek shelter in India due to prosecution on ground of religion or fear of such persecution in his country. The Bill also seeks to empower Central government to specify the authority that will register such a person as citizens of India or grant him a certificate of naturalisation and also prescribe the conditions, restrictions and manner in which such a person will be registered or naturalised.

The Bill will also provide immunity from any proceedings regarding illegal migration or citizenship going on against him before any authority, including Foreigners� Tribunals, courts, and such proceedings shall stand abated on conferment of citizenship.

Second proviso to sub-section (3) has been proposed to ensure that merely an act of making application for citizenship under this section may not lead to deprivation of rights and privileges of such applicants. However, provisions of the proposed new section 6B will not apply to tribal areas of Assam, Meghalaya, Mizoram and Tripura as included in the Sixth schedule of the Constitution and to areas covered under Bengal Eastern Frontier regulation, 19873 (Regulation 5 of 1873).

The Bill will also enable cancellation of registration as Overseas Citizen of India cardholder in case of violations of the provisions of the Citizenship Act. The Bill empowers the Central government to make rules regarding conditions, restrictions and manner for granting citizenship under sub-section (1) of section 6B.

The 6B(2) states that subject to fulfilment of the conditions specified in section 5 or qualifications for naturalisation under the provisions of the Third schedule, a person granted the certificate of registration or certificate of naturalisation under sub-section (1) shall be deemed to be a citizen of India from the date of his entry into India. On and from the date of commencement of CAB 2019, any proceedings pending against a person under this section in respect of illegal migration or citizenship shall stand abated on conferment of citizenship to him.

Provided that such person shall not be disqualified for making application for citizenship under this section on the ground that the proceeding is pending against him and the Central government or authority specified by it shall not reject his application on that ground if he is otherwise found qualified for grant of citizenship under this section.