The Citizenship Amendment Bill was passed on the midnight between 9th and 10th December 2019, after a daylong debate. The bill, which was earlier passed by the earlier Lok Sabha but had lapsed as it could not be passed in Rajya Sabha before the 2019 general elections, was re-tabled at the lower house of the parliament on December 9.
The debate on the bill went on for the whole day, and the voting took place after midnight, as the Lok Sabha session continued after 12 AM to the next day. 311 MPs of Lok Sabha voted for it, while 80 voted against it in the division of votes that took place just after midnight.
The Citizenship Amendment Bill seeks to give citizenships to religiously persecuted minorities from Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh. People belonging to Hindu, Jain, Buddhist, Sikhs, Parsi or Christian communities from these three countries who had come to India before 2014 can apply for Indian citizenship after the bill becomes law.
The bill has received stiff opposition from opposition parties, who are saying that the bill is discriminatory against Muslims as it does not give citizenship to Muslims from the 3 countries. The bill is being opposed in Assam and other North-Eastern states also, but for a different reason. Several organisations in NE states are protesting against giving citizenship to illegal immigrants belonging to any religion as they fear that it will alter the demographic profile of the region.
Passing the bill in Lok Sabha was the easy step, but the government will face some hurdle in Rajya Sabha where it does not have majority. But still, it is expected that the bill will get the consent of the upper house also as non-NDA parties like AIADMK and BJD are expected to vote for the bill.