The inner line permit areas of Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland and Mizoram are being kept out of the purview of the amended Citizenship Bill which was approved by the Union cabinet on Wednesday. The bill also protects areas under the Sixth Schedule in North East.
The draft bill reviewed by CNN-News18 says, "Nothing in this section shall apply to Assam, Meghalaya, Mizoram and Tripura as included in the Sixth Schedule to the Constitution, and to the areas covered under the inner line notified under the Bengal Eastern Frontier Regulation, 1873."
Sanctity of the Sixth Schedule and inner line permit areas was a major concern for those who were opposed to the Citizenship Amendment Bill. This clause is being added after section 6A of the original Act. This protection to inner line permit and Sixth Schedule areas was not available in the Citizenship Amendment Bill which was presented in Lok Sabha by then home minister Rajnath Singh.
The bill further states, “Any person belonging to Hindu, Sikh, Jain or Christian community from Afghanistan, Bangladesh or Pakistan entering India on or before December 31, 2014 and who has been exempted by the central government by or under clause C of subsection 2 of section 3 of the passport entry into India Act, 1920 or from application of the provisions of the Foreigners Act, 1946 or any rule there under, not be treated illegal migrant for the purpose of this Act."
The bill specifies the cut-off date as December 31, 2014.
The other provision in the draft bill is about the Overseas Citizen of India (OCI) card holder. Unlike the 2016 bill, the cabinet-approved CAB talks about giving an OCI card holder a hearing if he/she is found violating any other law. "Provided that no order under this section will be passed unless the OCI cardholder is given a reasonable opportunity of being heard," the bill states.
Home Minister Amit Shah held a series of meetings with the chief ministers of northeastern states, and civil society groups before the final draft was presented for cabinet approval on Wednesday. The bill is likely to be introduced in Lok Sabha on Monday.