With Rajya Sabha adjourned sine die on Wednesday, all Bills that have been passed by Lok Sabha but not by Rajya Sabha have lapsed. For any of these Bills to be revived, and for it to progress, it will have to be introduced afresh on a future date after the 17th Lok Sabha assembles after the general elections of April-May. The term of the 16th Lok Sabha ends on June 3.This includes 'The Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016'.
Why the Citizenship Amendment Bill is dead, for now?
The lapsing of these Bills is in accordance with the rules regarding Bills that have already been passed by Lok Sabha.
The relevant provision in the Legislative Procedure in the Rajya Sabha says: “A Bill pending in Rajya Sabha which has not been passed by Lok Sabha does not lapse on the dissolution of Lok Sabha but a Bill which is passed by Lok Sabha and is pending in Rajya Sabha lapses on the dissolution of Lok Sabha.”
Among the Bills that have now lapsed is The Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016.
What is Citizenship (Amendment) Bill?
The Bill was introduced in Lok Sabha on July 19, 2016. It was referred to the Joint Parliamentary Committee on August 12, 2016. The Committee submitted its report on January 7, 2019, and the Bill was passed in Lok Sabha on January 8 this year.
The Bill seeks to amend the Citizenship Act, 1955 to make Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, Parsi and Christian illegal migrants from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, and Pakistan eligible for Indian citizenship.
The Bill also relaxes the eligibility criteria for citizenship by naturalisation for individuals of these six non-Muslim religions from these 3 countries by cutting the requirement of residence in India to just 6 years out of the previous 14 from the 11 years required currently.
Among the residents of Northeastern states, however, the prospect of citizenship for massive numbers of illegal Bangladeshi migrants has triggered deep anxieties, including fears of demographic change, loss of livelihood opportunities, and erosion of the indigenous culture. Hence the entire Northeast has been wracked by massive protests for more than a month.