PARLIAMENT OF INDIA

RAJYA SABHA

 

DEPARTMENT-RELATED PARLIAMENTARY

STANDING COMMITTEE ON HOME AFFAIRS

 

 

ONE HUNDRED-SEVENTH REPORT

ON

 

THE CITIZENSHIP (AMENDMENT) BILL, 2003

 

 

(PRESENTED TO THE RAJYA SABHA ON 12   DECEMBER, 2003)

(LAID ON THE TABLE OF THE LOK SABHA ON    12 DECEMBER, 2003)

 

                  

 

RAJYA SABHA SECRETARIAT

NEW DELHI

DECEMBER, 2003/AGRAHAYANA, 1925 (SAKA)


C O N T E N T S

 

1.         COMPOSITION OF THE COMMITTEE                                                 

 

2.         INTRODUCTION                                                                                                                                                                             

3.         REPORT                                                                                                                                                

 

*4.       RELEVANT MINUTES OF THE MEETINGS OF THE COMMITTEE                   

 

*5.       ANNEXURE

_________________________

*To be appended at printing stage.



COMPOSITION OF THE COMMITTEE 

 

1.         Shri Pranab Mukherjee-   Chairman

RAJYA SABHA

2.         Shri Kapil Sibal

3.         Shri Hansraj Bhardwaj

4.         Shri Motilal Vora

5.         Smt. Ambika Soni

            6.         Shri B.P. Singhal

            7.         Shri Janeshwar Mishra

            8.         Dr. V. Maitreyan

            9.         Shri Lalu Prasad

            10.       Shri Drupad Borgohain

            11.       Shri Ram Jethmalani

¢ 12.    Shri Pramod Mahajan

# 13.    Shri A. Vijayaraghavan

* 14.    Dr. L.M.Singhvi

LOK SABHA

15.       Shri Adhi Sankar

16.       Begum Noor Bano

            17.       Shri Swadesh Chakraborty

            18.       Adv. Uttamrao Dhikale

            19.       Shri M.O.H. Farook

            20.       Shri Rajen Gohain

            21.       Shri Vinay Katiyar

            22.       Shri K. Karunakaran

            23.       Shri Brahma Nand Mandal

            24.       Sardar Simranjit Singh Mann

            25.       Shri Ram Nagina Mishra

            26.       Shri P.H. Pandian

            27.       Shri Bhuma Nagi Reddy

            28.       Shri Subodh Roy

            29.       Shri Anadi Sahu

            30.       Shri P.A. Sangma

            31.       Shri Kishan Singh Sangwan

            32.       Shri Iqbal Ahmed Saradgi

            33.       Shri Manabendra Shah

            34.       Shri Abdul Rashid Shaheen

            35.       Shri C.K. Jaffer Sharief

            36.       Capt. (Retd.)  Inder Singh

            37.       Sardar Buta Singh

            38.       Shri Ramjilal Suman

            39.       Shri Lal Bihari Tiwari

            40.       Shri Prakash Mani Tripathi

_________________________________________________________________________

¢  Nominated w.e.f. 27th   February,  2003.

# Nominated w.e.f.5 May 2003.

* Nominated w.e.f. 27 July 2003.

 

41.       Shri Beni Prasad Verma

            42.       Shri Rajkumar Wangcha

£          43.       Dr.(Smt.) Sudha Yadav

n 44.    Shri Tarlochan Singh Tur

 

 

SECRETARIAT

 

Shri Satish Kumar, Additional Secretary

Shri Tapan Chatterjee, Director

Shri N.S. Walia, Under Secretary

Shri Narendra Kumar, Research Officer

Shri Ashok Kumar Sahoo, Committee Officer

________________________________________________________________________________

£  Nominated w.e.f. 27th  February, 2003.

n Nominated w.e.f. 7th  April, 2003.


INTRODUCTION

I, the Chairman of the Department-related Parliamentary Standing Committee on Home Affairs, having been authorised by the Committee to submit the Report on its behalf, do hereby present this One Hundred-seventh Report of the Committee on the Citizenship  (Amendment) Bill, 2003.·

 

2.         In pursuance of the Rules relating to the Department-related Parliamentary Standing Committees, the Chairman, Rajya Sabha in consultation with the Speaker, Lok Sabha referred·· the Bill, as introduced in the Rajya Sabha on 9 May 2003 and pending therein, to the Committee for examination and report.

3.         The Committee considered the Bill in six sittings held on 25 June, 15 July, 15 & 29 October and 2 & 10 December 2003 .

3.1       In its sitting held on 25 June 2003 the Committee heard the oral evidence of the Home Secretary and a senior officer of the Home Ministry on the Bill.

3.2       The Committee heard the views of Dr. L.M. Singhvi, MP (RS) and Chairman of High Powered Committee on Indian Diaspora on the Bill in its sitting held on 15 July 2003.

3.3              The Committee held in-house discussion on the Bill in its sittings held on 15 and 29 October 2003.

3.4       The Committee took up clause-by-clause consideration of the Bill in its sitting held on 2 December 2003.

3.5       The Committee considered and adopted the draft Report on the Bill in its sitting held on 10 December 2003.

4.         In the course of its deliberations, the Committee has made use of the following papers/documents :-

(i)                  Background note on the Bill received from the Ministry of Home Affairs ;

(ii)                Citizenship Act, 1955;

(iii)               Report of P.C. Jain Commission on Review of Administrative Laws;

(iv)              Report of  the High Level Committee on Indian Diaspora;

(v)                Comments of Ministry of Home Affairs on the points raised in the letters of Dr. L.M. Singhvi, MP (Rajya Sabha ) ;

(vi)              Comments/Replies of Ministry of Home Affairs on the points raised by the Chairman and Members in the sittings of the Committee; and

(vii)             Memoranda received from a cross-section of society.

 

5.         For facility of reference and convenience, observations and recommendations of the Committee have been printed in bold letters in the body of the Report.

NEW DELHI;
10 December 2003.

                                  PRANAB MUKHERJEE
Chairman

                           Committee on Home Affairs


Report

 

The Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2003 (Annexure-I) seeks to amend the Citizenship Act, 1955 to make provisions for the grant of dual citizenship and to introduce a scheme for the compulsory registration of every citizen of India, and for this purpose to issue national identity cards. To achieve these objectives, the proposed amendment, inter alia, seeks to provide for:

 

(i)                  making acquisition of Indian citizenship by registration and naturalisation more stringent;

 

(ii)                preventing illegal migrants from becoming eligible for Indian citizenship;

 

(iii)               simplifying  the procedure to facilitate the re-acquisition of Indian citizenship by persons of full age who are children of Indian citizens and former citizens of independent India;

 

(iv)              providing for the grant of overseas citizenship of India to persons of Indian origin belonging to specified countries and Indian citizens who choose to acquire the citizenship of any of these countries at a later date;

 

(v)                providing for the compulsory registration and issue of national identity card to all citizens of India;

 

(vi)              enhancing the penalty for violation of its provisions as well as the rules framed under it; and

 

(vii)             omitting all provisions recognizing or relating to the Commonwealth citizenship from the Act.

 

2.         The Statement of Objects and Reasons to the Bill, states that the Citizenship Act, 1955 which provides for the acquisition of citizenship, after the commencement of the Constitution by birth, descent, registration, naturalisation and incorporation of territory under certain circumstances, and also provides for the termination and deprivation of citizenship, was among the 109 Central Acts identified for a review by the Commission on Review of Administrative Laws constituted by the Central Government under the Chairmanship of Shri P.C. Jain in 1998.  Followed by that, the Report of the High Level Committee on Indian Diaspora constituted by the Central Government under the Chairmanship of Dr. L.M. Singhvi, inter alia, recommended the amendment of this Act to provide for the grant of dual citizenship to persons of Indian origin belonging to certain specified countries. 

 

2.1       In the light of the above, the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2003 was introduced in the Rajya Sabha on 9 May 2003.  It was referred to the Department-related Parliamentary Standing Committee on Home Affairs on 28 May 2003 for examination with an instruction to report by the first week of the 199th session (Monsoon Session) of the Rajya Sabha.

 

2.2       However, while considering the Bill, in its meeting held on 15 July 2003, the Committee felt that it would not be possible for it to complete the consideration of the Bill and report thereon to Parliament within the stipulated time, keeping in view the range of discussions held, issues involved   and the number of memoranda received.   Accordingly, the Committee sought an extension of time upto first day of the last week of 200th Session (Winter Session) of Rajya Sabha from the Hon’ble Chairman, Rajay Sabha.  The extension was granted by the Hon’ble Chairman.

 

3.         Keeping in view the public importance of the Bill, the Committee in its meeting held on 28 May 2003 decided to invite views/suggestions from individuals/organisations thereon.  It, accordingly, authorised the Secretariat to issue a press advertisement for inviting views/suggestions.

 

3.1       In response to the press advertisement issued on 6 June 2003 which was published in the major English & Hindi dailies and vernacular newspapers all over the country on 21 June 2003, a large number of representations/memoranda were received. The list of individuals and organisations from whom Memoranda were received is at Annexure-II.

 

3.2       The major points raised in the Memoranda were as follows:

 

1.         Indian citizenship should be granted to Bangladeshi and Pakistani minority refugees.  National identity cards should also be issued to these refugees;

2.         Granting of Indian citizenship to migrants who entered India in the wake of 1971 war should be considered.

3.         Interests of displaced persons should also be considered.

4.         Dual citizenship should be granted on selective basis.

5.         Refugees, who entered India after 25 March 1971, should be treated as legal migrants.

6.         Strictness should be observed in the matter of grant of citizenship and National Identity Cards.

7.         Dual citizenship should not be granted to NRIs.

8.         Citizenship should not be available to Bangladeshi minorities;

9.         Citizenship should be granted only to Bangladeshi minority refugees and not to refugees belonging to majority community,

10.       Tibetan refugees should also be considered for grant of citizenship.

11.       Dual citizenship should be restricted to NRIs only;

12.       Every citizen should be given a national identity card.

13.       Section 6A of the Citizenship Act, 1955 should be deleted to solve the problem of foreign nationals;

14.       National identity cards should be provided free of cost.

15.       China, Srilanka, Fizi, Kenya, Malaysia, Singapore, Uganda, South Africa, West Indies and Zimbabwe should be included in the Fourth Schedule to the Citizenship Act.

16.       Mandatory period of stay in India for re-acquiring Indian citizenship should be of six months only.

17.       There should be relaxation in the eligibility criteria for re-acquiring Indian citizenship by distinguished persons.

18.       Citizenship certificate should also indicate the religion of the cardholder.

 

4.         The Committee first took up the consideration of the Bill in its meeting held on 25 June 2003.  It heard the oral evidence of the Home Secretary and Joint Secretary (F) in the Ministry of Home Affairs in the same meeting.

 

4.1       The Joint Secretary briefly traced the background of the present Bill, the main provisions of the Act as it existed, the reasons for the proposed amendments and the amendments required in the Bill.

 

4.2       He explained that in exercise of the powers vested by Article 11 of the Constitution, the Citizenship Act was legislated by Parliament in 1955. The Act dealt with acquisition, determination and termination of Indian citizenship.  There were four ways by which a person could acquire Indian citizenship, i.e. birth, descent, registration and naturalisation.  Section 3 provided for citizenship by birth, Section 4 governed citizenship by descent, Section 5 provided for citizenship by registration, Section 6 provided for citizenship by naturalisation and Section 9(1) provided for termination of citizenship.

 

4.3       He also mentioned that before 31st March 1986, powers were delegated to the District Collectors to grant citizenship to persons but after 1st April 1986 citizenship could only be granted by the Central Government in the Ministry of Home Affairs.

 

4.4       He further explained that the proposal for amending the Citizenship Act, 1955 was based on an internal review undertaken by the Ministry itself while implementing the Act. Besides, the Central Government had set up a Commission in 1998 known as P. C. Jain Commission, which had also suggested for a review of certain administrative laws including the Citizenship Act.

 

4.5       He further stated that the Government had set up a High Level Committee on Indian Diaspora under the Chairmanship of Dr. L.M. Singhvi.  That Committee made several recommendations, amongst which one was pertaining to the grant of dual citizenship.  On that basis the Government decided to grant dual citizenship in a limited form with limited rights and to specific countries by making suitable amendments in the Citizenship Act.  He also made a reference to the scheme of issuance of multipurpose identity cards by the Government and stated that enabling provisions were proposed under the Citizenship Act for the issue of national citizenship identity cards.  He dwelt upon the various provisions of the Bill in detail such as clause 4 (1A) which provided for the cessation of Indian citizenship on minor citizens on their attaining of full age, if the person made an application for registration as an overseas citizen, and till such time his application for the purpose is not disposed of by the Central Government. This in effect, amounted to a person holding citizenship of India as well as of another country which was not the Government’s intention.  The Joint Secretary clarified that the real idea was that if a person acquired the citizenship of a foreign country, he would automatically cease to be a citizen of India.  Accordingly, an amendment was proposed in the Bill to give six months time to such minor citizens after attaining full age to make an application for grant of overseas citizenship.  Similarly, about clause 9, he stated that if a person was holding the citizenship of any other country or if he voluntarily acquired it, and he also applied for registration as an overseas citizen of India, the provision as contained would allow him to retain both the citizenship.  Since this provision also did not reflect the true intention of the Government, it was also proposed to be omitted.

 

4.6       As regards clause 12 pertaining to the issuance of National Identity Cards, he stated that it was basically related to the procedure and for the purpose corresponding changes would be made in clause 1(a) of sub-section (2) of Section 18.  The Home Secretary clarified that by amending the clause the Government wanted to do away with the requirement of application by a person and make it automatic to issue a card to such person.

 

5.         In its meeting held on 15 July 2003, the Committee invited the Chairman of the Committee on Indian Diaspora, Dr. L.M. Singhvi, MP (RS) and heard his views on the various provisions of the Bill.

 

5.1       Dr. Singhvi stated that the need for building stronger bridges with the people of Indian origin was, in his opinion, a new ‘Setubandhan’ in our time.  He informed that many countries accepted the dual citizenship without obliterating the identity of the people.  He stated that many countries where people of Indian origin lived did not want dual citizenship especially South Africa where such people were interested only in stronger cultural contacts. He pointed out that nationality was the principal link between individuals.  He stated that the question as to whether a person was possessing the nationality of a particular country shall be determined in accordance with the laws of that country.    Article 9 of the Constitution empowered the Parliament to enact a comprehensive legislation on citizenship and provided that any citizen of India who by naturalisation, registration or otherwise voluntarily acquired or had at any time between the 26th day of January 1950 and the commencement of the Citizenship Act, 1955 voluntarily acquired the citizenship of another country shall, upon such acquisition or such commencement, as the case may be, cease to be a citizen of India.  He identified a number of Commonwealth countries to be fit for being included in the proposed Fourth Schedule to the Act for conferment of dual citizenship. He informed that French laws permitted dual nationality and that the demand had also come from persons of Indian origin living in Portugal for dual citizenship where dual citizenship was accepted.  Hence, these two countries as well as several other countries in respect of which he had sent a detailed communication to the Government of India must be considered for granting dual citizenship to persons of Indian origin.   

 

5.2       He made a mention of the two exceptional islands Reunion and Guadalupe which were French territories to illustrate the strong cultural links with India.  The Indian diaspora there has French citizenship and wanted stronger cultural ties.  There, the people of Indian origin sustained the economy and made the islands prosperous.  They did not want dual nationality but wanted more intimate cultural relations as they wanted to reclaim their language, culture, dance, etc.  He stated that many first or second-generation immigrants in the Western countries wanted dual nationality as they believed in forging strong links with India and preserve their Indian heritage.

 

5.3       Further, he referred to the various patterns of dual nationality in America and the problems faced by the British with regard to the renunciation of their citizenship when someone became an American citizen.   Several provisions were made thereafter in the U.K. which worked effectively.  He also dwelt upon the scheme of PIO cards introduced earlier by the Government of India which gave many benefits that would accrue from dual citizenship. He stated that although, there were various concessions extended for foreign investments, opening of accounts etc. for People of Indian Origin yet the scheme was not quite successful, as it was not properly projected.  However, the provisions of the Bill, he stated, would be a kind of psychological incentive for people to relate themselves with India, to make investments, to make technology transfers and such like things and emphasised that these should be implemented in tandem with other recommendations of the Committee on Indian Diaspora. He further mentioned about the experiences of other diasporas like British, and Chinese which were studied by him and are reflected in the Report of the High Level Committee.  He added that the advantage of the dual citizenship will be largely psychological and that he did not expect the floodgates to open for dual citizenship after the legislation was enacted.  He also said that fears and apprehensions regarding security were not well founded.

 

5.4       To Conclude, he stated that the present Bill should be seen in the light of the principle being that dual citizenship may be granted where there was certain reciprocity of acceptance of the idea of dual nationality or a strong linkage and demand from the Indian diaspora.  He also mentioned that he was not in favour of overseas Indians having voting rights in India or being allowed to hold high constitutional offices and expressed that the less directly they were embroiled in the politics of the country the better it would be for them as well as the country. 

 

5.5       During the course of deliberations in the Committee apprehensions were raised by the Members on several provisions of the Bill as well as on other related issues such as illegal migrants/refugees, etc.  on which a Member of the Committee, who headed the High Powered Committee on Indian Diaspora gave his clarifications.  He stated that the neighbouring countries were not included in his list for obvious reasons and said that the Government had not been able to prevent unauthorised influx.  He also said that those who were persecuted in those countries constituted a special class who deserved favourable consideration as distinguished from others who migrated to India for economic reasons.

 

6.         The issue of constant influx of refugees from the neighbouring countries due to civil commotion and religious persecution was raised in the Committee.  The Committee had received a large number of representations from different organizations particularly from West Bengal and certain parts of North-Eastern region expressing apprehensions that those who migrated to India from neighbouring countries like Bangladesh and Pakistan due to atrocities committed on the minorities by the theocratic rulers, would now be detected and deported under the proposed law.  It was pleaded by the petitioners for grant of citizenship and other facilities to such migrants by the Government of India.  The religious persecution of minorities in those countries which resulted into mass exodus of people from their ancestral lands particularly from Bangladesh was emphasized in the Committee.  While expressing sympathies for such refugees, Members were of the view that instead of granting citizenship to these refugees, it would be better if this problem was tackled as per the international law and convention.  Adoption of a two-pronged strategy to deal with the problem was favoured.  On the one hand, Members were for extending all humanitarian assistance to such refugees while on the other, they wanted the Government to put pressure through diplomatic channels on the governments of the countries from where these refugees were coming, either as a result of religious persecution or civil commotion, to create conducive atmosphere in their countries for early return of the refugees.  Members expressed the view that the commitment made by the national leaders at the time of partition was to facilitate the entry of Hindus from Pakistan to India with a view to save them from religious persecution because Pakistan had proclaimed itself as a theocratic nation.  This commitment, they felt depended on circumstances but, was, however, not an unending or open-ended one.  They believed that it would be extremely difficult for India to accommodate such refugees as its own citizens were feeling the pinch of growing population, poverty and unemployment. At the same time those Members were of the view that the Government should not completely forget the commitment of our national leaders at the time of partition and it should keep into account the plight of those displaced persons who were uprooted from their homes due to failure of their sovereign governments to protect them in the wake of certain developments. Insofar as the migration of people from neighbouring countries to India due to economic reasons,  Members were of the view that such migrants should be sternly dealt with as per the law of the land.

 

6.1       In response to the views expressed in the Committee, the Ministry of Home Affairs has replied that as regards grant of citizenship to the refugees who are in India, the Ministry has already agreed to the cut-off date of 25 March 1971.  Those who entered on or after the above cut-off date are to be detected and deported to their home countries.  As per the international practice on refugees, refugees are taken by other countries due to well-founded fear of persecution in that country.  Once the problems in their own country are settled, the refugees are normally returned to their country or origin.  The Ministry, however, allayed the apprehension that all those who entered India due to civil disturbances and political developments in the neighbouring countries, would be forcibly sent back to their homelands.  In that context it was clarified that each case or a group of cases would be considered on merit.  Refugees, who have come to India on or after 25 March 1971 due to religious and political reasons, would be dealt with under the relevant provisions of the Foreigners Act, 1946.

 

6.1.1    The Ministry also stated that the situation, which prevailed in 1971 was completely different from the present situation in India.  India has large population and land-population ratio has decreased over the period of time.  Employment opportunities are not available due to increase of population manifold.  In such a situation, the country is unable to undertake additional burden of refugees from other countries.  Keeping in view the economic and population reasons, citizenship cannot be granted to the refugees who have come on or after 25 March 1971.

 

6.1.2    The Ministry further stated that it is pertinent to mention that in the recent years people from neighbouring countries are coming to India more for economic reasons rather than as refugees.  Since people are coming as illegal migrants for economic reasons, there is no justification to grant them citizenship in India.

 

7.         The Committee took up clause-by-clause consideration of the Bill in its meeting held on 2 December 2003 as under:

Clause 2

7.1       Clause 2 seeks to amend Section 2 of the Citizenship Act, 1955 to substitute the existing clauses (b), (c) and the proviso to clause (c) by new clause (b) to define the term ‘illegal migrant’, insert new clauses (ee) defining ‘overseas citizen of India’ and (gg) defining ‘specified country’.

 

7.1.1    Clause 2 (iii) (gg) defines “specified country” as a country specified in the Fourth Schedule for the purpose of grant of dual citizenship to persons of Indian origin residing in those countries. In the first instance Government included eight countries, namely, Australia, Canada, Finland, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, the United Kingdom and the United States of America in the Fourth Schedule.  Subsequently, at the instance of the Committee and the Ministry of External Affairs, the Ministry of Home Affairs agreed to include eight more countries in the Fourth Schedule, namely, Switzerland, Greece, Israel, Sweden, France, Cyprus, Portugal and New Zealand.  While endorsing the inclusion of sixteen countries identified by the Government in the Fourth Schedule, the Committee is of the view that a proviso may be added to the definition of “specified country” providing that the Central Government may, by notification in the Official Gazette, amend the said Schedule by way of addition or omission in future.  A second proviso may also be added making it mandatory to lay before both Houses of Parliament such a notification. Accordingly, the Committee recommends that clause 2 (iii) (gg) should be suitably amended.

 

7.1.2 Similarly, as a consequence to the amendment proposed by the Government in clause 9 of the Bill, whereby it has proposed to delete the second proviso to sub-section (1) of section 9 of the principal Act, the definition of ‘overseas citizen of India’ in clause 2 (ii) (ee) also needs to be amended which should read as follows:

“(ee) overseas citizen of India” means a person

(i)                              of Indian origin being a citizen of a specified country, or

(ii)                            who was a citizen of India immediately before being a citizen of a specified country,

and who is registered as an overseas citizen of India by the Central Government under sub-section (1) of Section7A”.

7.1.3    Subject to above, the Committee adopts the clause.

Clause 3

7.2       Clause 3 seeks to substitute a new section in place of section 3 of the principal Act providing for acquisition of citizenship by birth.

7.2.1    The Committee adopts the clause without any change.

Clause 4

7.3       Clause 4 seeks to amend section 4 of the principal Act thereby substituting sub-section (1) dealing with citizenship by descent with a new sub-section which provides for the mandatory registration of the birth of children born to Indian citizens outside India at an Indian Consulate.  It also makes for a declaration by parents at the time of applying for registration of birth that the minor does not hold the passport of any other country and giving a minor who claims Indian citizenship by descent, six months time to apply for overseas citizenship of India after attaining full age.

 

7.3.1    The Government has brought an amendment in sub-Section (1A) of Section 4 to allow a minor citizen of India by descent, who is also a citizen of another country, six months to renounce the citizenship of the other country failing which he will cease to be a citizen of India by descent.  The sub-section as proposed to be amended reads as under:

“(1A) A minor who is a citizen of India by virtue of this section and is also a citizen of any other country shall cease to be a citizen of India if he does not renounce the citizenship or nationality of another country within six months of attaining full age”.

 

7.3.2    The Committee questioned as to how the Government would enforce the renunciation of citizenship by a minor on his attaining the full age.   The Home Secretary clarified that it would be automatic after the expiry of six months from the day a minor attained full age.

           

7.3.3    The Committee adopts the clause with the amendment as proposed by the Government.

Clause 5

7.4       Clause 5 seeks to amend section 5 of the principal Act to substitute a new sub-section in place of the existing sub-section (1) and to insert a new sub-section (6) in the Act.  This section provides for citizenship by registration.  

 

7.4.1    A point was raised as to whether it was possible to treat the persons, who have migrated to India from her neighbouring countries due to religious and political persecutions, on a different footing.  In that context it was suggested that a reference to the Foreigners (Tribunals) Order, 1964 may be included in sub-section (1) in relation to the cases of the victims of religious and political persecution in our neighbouring countries. 

 

7.4.2    After some discussion, the Home Secretary clarified that the issue before the Committee was the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2003 and under what circumstances citizenship could be conferred on certain categories of persons.  He further clarified that an illegal migrant has to be dealt with under the Foreigners Act whose provisions enable him to get certain facilities.  Thereafter, he comes within the ambit of Section 5 of the Citizenship Act.  Therefore, the objectives of those two Acts are quite different and one need not be brought into the focus of the other.

 

7.4.3    It was also clarified that the power of the Central Government in sub-section (1) to impose conditions and restrictions for registering a person as a citizen of India, provides it with a fairly large scope indicating a principled approach to the problem of victims of persecutions and others who have forced themselves into this country.

 

7.4.4    The Committee, however, adopts the clause without any change.

 

Clause 6

7.5       Clause 6 seeks to amend section 6 of the principal Act which provides for citizenship by naturalisation.  The amendment is consequential to the deletion of First Schedule to the principal Act.

 

7.5.1    The Committee adopts the clause without any change.

 

Clause 7

7.6       Clause 7 seeks to insert new sections 7A, 7B, 7C & 7D in the principal Act providing for registration of a person as an overseas citizen of India, conferment of rights on overseas citizens of India, renunciation of overseas citizenship and cancellation of registration as overseas citizen of India, respectively.

 

7.6.1    The Government has felt that the proviso to new Section 7A(1)(C) as reflected in the Bill was not required.  The intention of the Government was to maintain the basic provision for automatic cessation of Indian Citizenship in the event of a citizen of full age taking the citizenship of another country.  Hence, there was no need for stipulating any time period as enumerated in the aforesaid proviso.  Accordingly, the Government has proposed its deletion. 

 

7.6.2    The Committee during its deliberations felt that the oath of allegiance for an overseas citizen of India, as provided in the Second Schedule and referred to in sub-clause (2) of new Section 7A would mean taking away the right given to them by granting overseas citizenship as the allegiance to the Constitution cannot be divided and it would create problem with their primary citizenship.  The Committee felt that by affirming/swearing allegiance to Indian Constitution the overseas citizens might not be able to bear allegiance to the constitution of the country whose citizenship they have acquired and are staying there for most part of the year.  A reference was also made to sub section (b) of new section 7D which provides for cancellation of registration as an overseas citizen of India if a person shows disloyalty or disaffection towards the Constitution.

 

7.6.3.   In the light of the observations of the Committee, the Government has agreed to come out with an amended oath in the Second Schedule.  The Government has also agreed to make consequential changes in sections 7A (2) and 7D (b).

 

7.6.4    In view of the above, the Committee would like to impress upon the Government that it should, while reformulating the oath in the Second Schedule, fully address the concern of the Committee as expressed in para 7.6.2.

 

7.6.5    Subject to above, the Committee adopts the clause.

 

Clause 8

7.7       Clause 8 seeks to amend section 8 of the principal Act to make some consequential amendments required in the Act.  Section 8 of the Act deals with renunciation of citizenship.

 

7.7.1    The Committee adopts the clause without any change.

 

 

Clause 9

7.8       Clause 9 seeks to amend Section 9 of the principal Act which provides for termination of citizenship.  The clause seeks to insert a proviso after proviso in sub-section (1).  The proviso permits a citizen of India, who takes the citizenship of another country, to continue as an Indian citizen until his application for registration as an overseas citizen of India is disposed of by the Central Government.  It also seeks to substitute the term “Citizen of India” instead of the word “Person” in sub-section (2).

 

7.8.1    However, the Government felt that no change was required in the current provision in the Act, according to which if a person takes the citizenship of some other country, he automatically ceases to be an Indian citizen.  Hence, it proposed the deletion of second proviso to sub-section (1) of section 9 from the Bill.

 

7.8.2.   The Committee adopts the clause with the amendment proposed by the Government.

Clause 10

7.9       Clause 10 seeks to delete sections 11 & 12 of the principal Act which deal with Commonwealth citizenship.

 

7.9.1    The Committee adopts the clause without any change.

Clause 11

7.10     Clause 11 seeks to amend section 14 of the principal Act which deals with disposal of application under sections 5 & 6. Sections 5 and 6 deal with citizenship by registration and naturalisation, respectively. The amendment proposes to add reference to new section 7A in addition to existing references to sections 5 & 6. The new section 7A provides for registration of overseas citizens.

 

7.10.1  The Committee adopts the clause without any change.

 

Clause 12

7.11     Clause 12 seeks to insert a new section 14A in the principal Act to provide for compulsory registration of every citizen of India and issuing of national identity cards.

 

7.11.1  The proposed provision makes it mandatory for a person to make an application for the issue of a national identity card. The Government, however, later on realised that the provision as contained in the Bill does not reflect clearly its intention of enumeration and the automatic grant of a national identity card. Hence, there was no need for a person to make an application for the purpose. An application was required only in cases of dispute. Accordingly, the Government has proposed a change in sub-section (2) of the proposed section 14A which should read as under:

“The procedure to be followed in compulsory registration of the citizens of India shall be such as may be prescribed.”

 

7.11.1  The Committee adopts the clause with the amendment proposed by the Government.

Clause 13

7.12     Clause 13 seeks to insert a new section 15A in the principal Act to make a provision for review of an order made by the Government.

 

7.12.1  However, in the context of preparing national register of citizens and issuing national identity cards, the Government has felt that the provisions as proposed in the present Bill are not sufficient.  Hence, it has proposed to insert a second proviso in sub-section (1) of proposed new section 15A which reads as under:

“Provided further that an application for a review of an order passed in terms of the provisions of section 14A, shall be disposed of in the manner provided for in the procedure laid down under clause (ia) of sub-section (2) of Section 18.”

7.12.2  The Committee adopts the clause with the amendment proposed by the Government.

Clause 14

7.13     Clause 14 seeks to amend section 17 of the principal Act.  The existing section deals with offences and prescribes an imprisonment of six months or fine or both, whereas by this amendment the imprisonment is sought to be enhanced upto five years and the fine upto fifty thousand rupees.

 

7.13.1  The Committee adopts the clause without any change.

 

Clause 15

7.14     Clause 15 seeks to amend section 18 of the principle Act which contains power of the Central Government to make rules to carry out the purposes of the Act.  The proposed amendment seeks to insert sub clauses (aa) and (ia) in sub-section (2) of section 18.

 

7.14.1  As regards (ia), the Government later felt that the provision as expressed in the Bill was not necessary as the details of the procedure to be followed in the compulsory registration of the citizens of India would be provided in the rules to be framed for the purpose.  Accordingly, sub-clause (ia) has been redrafted by the Government as under:

“(ia) the procedure to be followed in compulsory registration of the citizens of India under sub-section (2) of section 14A.”

 

7.14.2  The Committee adopts the clause with the amendment proposed by the Government.

Clause 16

7.15     Clause 16 seeks to omit the First Schedule to the principal Act which contains the list of Commonwealth countries.

 

7.15.1  The Committee adopts the clause without any change.

 

Clause 17

7.16     Clause 17 seeks to substitute the Second Schedule to the principal Act, which prescribes the oath of allegiance as a citizen of India with a new Schedule which contains an oath of allegiance to the Constitution for the overseas citizens of India also.

 

7.16.1  The Committee recommends that the Second Schedule to the Act insofar as it pertains to oath of allegiance by overseas citizens of India may be amended in the light of its observations in paras 7.6.2 & 7.6.4 of the Report.

 

7.16.2  Subject to above, the Committee adopts the clause.

 

Clause 18

7.17     Clause 18 seeks to amend the Third Schedule to the principal Act which prescribes qualifications for naturalisation of a person who is not a citizen of a country specified in the First Schedule.

 

7.17.1    The Committee adopts the clause without any change.

 

Clause 19

7.18     Clause 19 seeks to insert Fourth Schedule in the principal Act which enlists the countries for granting overseas citizenship to the people of Indian origin living there.

 

7.18.1  Subject to the observations/recommendations made in para 7.1.1 of the Report, the Committee adopts the clause.

 

Clause 1, the Enacting Formula and the Title

 

7.19     Clause 1, the Enacting Formula and the Title of the Bill are adopted without any change.

 

8.         The Committee recommends that the Bill be passed in the light of its observations/ recommendations.

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· Published in the Gazette of India Extraordinary, Part II Section 2, dated 9 May 2003.

·· Parliamentary Bulletin Part II No. 40690 dated 30 May 2003.

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