Parliament proceedings live updates December 11, 2019 | Rajya Sabha passes Citizenship (Amendment) Bill; Ayes 125, Noes 105

The result of voting on the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill is displayed in the Rajya Sabha on December 11, 2019. Photo: RSTV

The result of voting on the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill is displayed in the Rajya Sabha on December 11, 2019. Photo: RSTV  

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Shiv Sena boycotts voting. Motions to send the bill to a select committee rejected; Several amendments moved by Opposition members rejected mostly by voice vote.

Rajya Sabha has approved the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, completing the legislative procedure for giving Indian citizenship to non-Muslim migrants from Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh.

Replying to a six-and-a-half-hour debate on the bill, Home Minister Amit Shah said the legislation seeks to provide citizenship to persecuted minorities in the three countries and not take away citizenship of anyone.

He rejected the Opposition charge that the bill was against Muslims and said they have nothing to fear.

The Bill was passed with 125 votes in favour and 105 against it. Besides BJP, its allies such as JD(U) and SAD, the legislation was supported by AIADMK, BJD, TDP and YSR-Congress.

Earlier the House rejected motions to send the bill to a select committee of the House with 124 members voting against it as compared to 99 in its favour.

The House also rejected several amendments moved by opposition members to the bill, most by voice vote.

The bill was passed by Lok Sabha late on December 9. It will now go to the President for his assent.

Here are the live updates:

Rajya Sabha | 8.50 p.m.

Rajya Sabha passes the Citizenship Amendment Bill with 125 ayes against 105 noes, including paper ballots.

Rajya Sabha is adjourned till December 12, 2019.

Rajya Sabha | 8.45 p.m.

Rajya Sabha takes up final vote on the Citizenship Amendment Bill. Members ask for a division vote.

Rajya Sabha | 8.40 p.m.

Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut says the party is boycotting the voting, according to ANI.

Rajya Sabha | 8.00 p.m.

Rajya Sabha votes for the Bill to be referred to a Rajya Sabha committe as per an amendment moved by K.K. Ragesh. The House votes negative by 113 to 92, and 124 against 99 after considering the paper votes.

The amendments moved by Husain Dalwai, Binay Viswam and Ahmad Ashfauq Karim, to refer the Bill to different select committees of the Rajya Sabha are also negated by the House.

Derek O'Brien of the TMC calls for a division vote for the amendment moved by him. It is negated by 124 noes to 98 ayes.

Sukhendu Sekhar Ray of the AITC also asks for a division vote. His amendment is rejected by 116 noes to 95 ayes.

 

Rajya Sabha | 7.45 p.m.

The Chairman says that people who were shouting in protest will not be given an opportunity to seek clarifications.

Sukhendu Sekhar Ray of the AITC asks: "Whether the countries of origin of non-citizens would be identified and these people be deported, or they will be confined to inhuman detention camps?"

Kapil Sibal of the Congress party says that the kind of statements made today by Mr. Shah destroy the secular fabric of the country.

 

Rajya Sabha | 7.30 p.m.

Statements by Congress and Pakistani politicians coincide sometimes, says Union Home Minister Amit Shah. His remark triggers heavy protests.

Remarks on surgical strike by Congress leaders and Pakistani Prime Minister are similar, he says.

 

Rajya Sabha | 7.00 p.m.

Amit Shah refers to a statement by Mamata Banerjee in the Lok Sabha in 2005 where she said: "Illegal immigration in Bangladesh has become a grave problem. You can see names of Indians too along with Bangladeshi voters in the electoral rolls."

Derek O'Brien of the Trinamool Congress interrupt Mr. Shah and says that he is misleading the House. Other members also erupt in protest. The Chairman asks them to raise point of orders and tells Mr. Shah to continue with his reply.

He also says the Shiv Sena changed its colours after supporting the Bill in the Lok Sabha.

Indian Muslims will not be affected by this Bill. This legislation is to grant citizenship, not withdraw it, says the Minister.

"Opposition need not teach me about the idea of India. I am born here and shall die here," says Mr. Shah.

 

Rajya Sabha | 6.20 p.m.

People opposing the Bill have limited definitions of religious bias, says Amit Shah

Union Home Minister Amit Shah says that the Bill would not be necessary if India was not partitioned.

"Even I know that the Bill would be controversial. We, too, could have stayed silent on the Bill like our predecessor governments and enjoyed the political dividends. But till when will we keep ignoring national issues? Had this legislation been introduced 50 years back, there would not be such dire problems today," says Mr. Shah.

"Had the Partition not been on religious grounds, this legislation would not be required," he adds.

The bill provides retrospective citizenship, says the Minister.

Replying to Ghulam Nabi Azad's question about how the countries were chosen, Mr. Shah says this is not the first time he has introduced a citizenship bill. When citizenship was granted to Sri Lankan Tamils, he did not question why Pakistanis or Bangladeshis were not included in the step. Such problems have to be addressed one step at a time, he says.

Muslims from Islamic countries do not fall in the minority and there is no question of persecution. Hence they have been excluded from the Bill, he says.

Responding to allegations of religious bias in the Bill, Mr. Shah says that except Muslims all other religions have been accomodated in the legislation. "Would the Bill be unbiased only if Muslims were included? Your definitions of bias are very limited," he says.

Mr. Shah also cites a statement by Mahatma Gandhi on September 26, 1947, wherein he said that Hindus and Sikhs in Pakistan and Bangladesh could come to India. He argues that even Gandhi did not mention Muslims, and hence looking at problems from a  religious perspective is a "recent trend."

Rajya Sabha | 6.15 p.m.

Union Minister for Law and Justice Ravi Shankar Prasad says the Bill is constitutional, valid and serves the larger humanitarian order.

The members have questioned Parliament's authority on drafting this law, and that is disappointing, he says.

 

Rajya Sabha | 5.45 p.m.

Bhupendra Yadav (BJP): "Any law is constitutional. In our country religion is also a necessity. We are not someone who hates another religion. We always see everyone as an equal. When our neighbouring countries face oppression due to religion, then measure needs to be taken. The environment created with protests now is being done to ruin the peace."

Lok Sabha | 5.20 p.m.

Supriya Sule (NCP) of Maharashtra appreciates the Finance Minister and the MoS for bringing the bill. "I understand the FM faces a lot of challenges. She replies to a member's comment and says he can't compare India to Singapore. India is going through a struggle now and I appreciate the honesty of our Finance Minister. I urge her to give all the clarifications and if India wants to be ahead, we get better lifestyle, jobs and elevate poverty. Given all the crisis we are going through, do we really need this bill? Please clarify. What we need is a transparent and fair move."

Rajya Sabha | 5.00 p.m.

Message from Lok Sabha: LS adopts a motion referring the Personal Data Protection Bill, 2019 to a joint committee of the House consisting of 20 members of LS and 10 members of RS and recommending to the RS that the RS do concur in the said motion and join the said joint committee in communication the names of the 10 members to be appointed.

Ronald Sapa Tiau (INC), Mizoram: "People should have the freedom to follow their religion, language and dialect. They should be able to follow their culture. But it is not above the number. We object the bill."

Vinay P. Sahasrabuddhe (BJP), Maharashtra: "This is not a new discussion. Even in 1983, there was an Illegal Migrants (Determination by Tribunal) Act. In 1985, Assam Accord was signed against illegal immigrants. Now we are looking to fix this issue lawfully."

Rajya Sabha | 4.45 p.m.

Ripun Bora (INC) says, "People in Assam have been Indian citizens, holding lands, etc. By the Citizenship (amendments) Bill, you are going to force our Indian Hindu people to become foreigners. This is only for political polarization. This is the apprehension of law."

Dr. Subramanian Swamy (BJP) says, "The Home Minister deserves congratulations for bringing it after years and years of recognising this problem. Article 14 does not bar this amendment, because it has been in number of judgements. Article 14 has undergone many scrutiny in cases. The Bench had said on Article 14 that only people who are equal, in terms of their entitlement, only they can invoke Article 14. In Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan, these groups have been singled out for ill-treatment and oppression. The world accepts them as Muslims. Many single Muslims have come to our country to seek refuge where they went and got citizenship elsewhere. There is no need to include them into this bogus concept of Article 14.

Sri Lankan Tamils did not come for religious persecutions. They came due to the war. The govt of India has built houses for them and their numbers have dwindled. The terms like genocide is just propaganda. This Bill is something we need to protect ourselves."

Lok Sabha | 4.45 p.m.

Sougata Ray (AITC) says that it would be good if the Minister can revive a part of the economy with this bill.  "The Gift City's future hangs in balance. The basic financial infrastructure of Gift City is collapsing. It was a joint venture so maybe the FM would ensure the House that Gift City finances will not collapse. In so many years of independence, we are not able to make a trading hub. The question of setting up another IFSC (international financial services centre) is far fetched."

Kotagiri Sridhar (YSRCP) says, "We need to grow as an economy to match our population and develop infrastructure exponentially. Even today we aren't able to basic necessities as good quality life for our people, be it drinking water, sanitation, transportation, health services or education. I hope Andhra Pradesh stands next in line for the next centre led by CM Jaganmohan Reddy who believes in transparency and clean governance. IFSC should by no means slow down business."

Lok Sabha | 4.15 p.m.

DM Kathir Anand (DMK) in his maiden speech, says, "We are still affected by poverty, unemployment and foreign exchange trade defiicit. The bill has some challenges. 9 million jobs are lost in the last six years, according to a study. The country is now facing big challenges and investors are afraid to invest here. The Gift City is already facing failure. Why concentrate on Gandhinagar? There are cities like Mumbai; Chennai generates foreign exchange revenue. When they invest in India, they invest in democracy. I urge this govt that please release this country out of fear which the investors are facing now."

Lok Sabha | 3.45 p.m.

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman moves a Bill to provide an establishment of an authority to develop and regulate the financial services market in the International Financial Services Centre be taken into consideration.

Karti Chidambaram (INC) says economics is not just about numbers. "When business is down, there is a human cause. When a builder is not able to sell flats, it means that masons, electricians, plumbers are less employed. If you put five economists in a room, you'll get six opinions. There is only one international financial services sector today. It will apply only to Gandhinagar, not anywhere else, the Gujarat International Finance Tec-City (GIFT City).

Financial hubs require transparency. This industry needs certainty on regulations and processes. I urge the govt on focusing on Gifty city on creating a large social infrastructure. The social infrastructure must be on par with others globally. We must not add to the alphabet soup of RBI, IT, CBI, ED, by creating IFSCA."

Lok Sabha | 3.30 p.m.

The government on Wednesday introduced the Code on Social Security, 2019 to reduce the number of legislations on employees' welfare and social security from 44 to just four.

Ravi Shankar Prasad, Electronics and IT Minister says that the Bill to provide for protection of the privacy of individual relating to the Personal Data be referred to a joint committee of the House.

Kapil Sibal (INC) says, "Citizenship Bill is targetting a community. Those who have no idea of India, cannot protect the idea of India."

Lok Sabha | 3.00 p.m.

Members raise issues of public importance during Zero Hour.

Nusrat Jahan (TMC) says a national highway needs to be constructed from Basirhat to promote tourism and import/export.

Rajya Sabha | 3.15 p.m.

Satish Chandra Misra (BSP) opposes the bill. "Article 14 and 21 uses the word 'person' and not 'citizen'. This distinction has been done keeping in mind fundamental rights and why is the Article violated by excluding Muslims? This Act is bound to fail. This Act is not a constitutional amendment."

Manoj Kumar Jha (RJD) says this bill might be a great blunder. "A state that persecutes, does not know the difference between communities. It goes against the tenacity of constitutional morality. It is morally bad and should not be accepted."

Rajya Sabha | 2.50 p.m.

P. Chidambaram (INC) says we have the responsibility to pass what is constitutional. He says that the bill is unconstitutional.

K.J. Alphons (BJP) says India is a country that is trying to undo all injustice done to minorities. This land has been a home to the oppressed, and so this bill helps in that.

Vijila Sathyananth (AIADMK) says she supports the bill. "Former CM late Jayalalithaa fought for Tamils. Sri Lankan refugees aren't illegal migrants. Nearly 90% of them are born in India and living in India for the last 25-30 years. I plead that Citizenship Bill also include Sri Lankan refugees."

Rajya Sabha | 2.30 p.m.

Swapan Dasgupta, Nominated says that there is an attempt to make Bengali Hindus inivisible.

Birendra Prasad Baishya (AGP) speaks in Assamese.

Rajya Sabha | 2 p.m.

Ram Chandra Prasad Singh (JD-U) says the Bill is very clear, as he begins speaking in support of the Bill.

K. Keshava Rao (TRS) says he doesn't believe India was separated on the basis of religion.

T.R. Rangarajan (CPI-M) says the Bill is unconstitutional and that his party opposes it. He quotes the S.R. Bommai case that secularism is a part of the basic structure of the Cosnstitution.

Tiruchi Siva (DMK) says the Bill condemns some individuals as second-class citizens. Why have only these three countries been considered, he asks. Why have other neighbouring countries been excluded?

Rajya Sabha | 1.40 p.m.

S.R. Balasubramoniyan (AIADMK) says his party is concerned that Sri Lankan refugees are not included in this Bill. He appeals to the government to revisit the Bill, but he supports the Bill.

Javed Ali Khan (SP) quotes the Chair as saying not to bring community in the House, when a Member mentioned religion. He says I'm proud to be a part of this House. He says that the BJP is bringing about religious discrimination in the country.

What Jinnah couldn't achieve, the CAB and NRC have set out to do, he says. He quotes Sardar Patel as saying that we are laying the foundation of a truly secular democracy.

He reads out from Golwalkar's book and says this is programme that is being planned. He says the word Pakistan, Afghanistan, Bangladesh should be replaced with neighbouring country, and all religions should be included.

Rajya Sabha | 1.30 p.m.

Mr. O'Brien continues the debate on CAB. He cites demonetisation as proof that the government has failed. Now they want a $5 trillion economy. This government is very good at making promises and even better at breaking promises.

1 crore people came from East Pakistan. It was linguistic persecution in the 1970s. These are all poor people who lost their documents in floods, violence.

This will be written on the father of the nation's grave. In Karachi, he says referring to Jinnah's grave.

80 temples have been desecrated in Gujarat, he says. This is not a distraction, but the agenda. Majority doesn't mean you are always right, he says. He asks the JD(U) and BJD to stand up for the truth. What will you tell your grandchildren 20 years from now, when they ask you which button did you press, he asks those party Members.

We are still standing here because of the power of our Constitution, says Mr. O'Brien.

Rajya Sabha | 1.15 p.m.

Chair asks Members to not pass comments while sitting down.

Derek O'Brien (Trinamool) speaks in Bengali first. He switches to English saying that there will be a people's movement. Those who cannot remember the past, are condemned to repeat it. He cites laws from Nazi Germany and says that there is an eerie similarity between those laws and this Bill.

He compares detention camps to concentration camps. 60% of those in detention camps are Bengali Hindus, he says.

He compares Jews being called rats by Nazis and illegal immigrants being called termites by the Home Minister.

This is not about politics, but about authority and truth. In eight years, 2 crore people have lost their jobs. When you can't take care of people inside the country, how can you do this?

You couldn't run NRC in one State. Your percentage of error was 7%. If you extrapolate, that becomes 10 crore people across the country, says the Trinamool Member.

Mr. Shah interrupts him. Mr. O'brien says when the Home Minister is interrupting him, he must be speaking some truth.

On a November evening in 2016, you separated poor people from their money. With GST, you separated businesses from their money. In Kashmir, you separated people from their State. Now, you seek to separate Indian citizens from therir homeland, concludes the Trinamool Member.

Rajya Sabha | 1.10 p.m.

J.P. Nadda (BJP) says he will lay out facts supporting the persecution of minorities in neighbouring countries.

He asks the Opposition t let go of politics and think of the nation. He says the Bill does not violate Article 14 of the Constitution. He quotes Dr. Manmohan Singh speaking in the Rajya Sabha about the treatment of refugees after Partition. Dr. Singh says that persecuted minorities should be granted citizenship, says Mr. Nadda.

Amit Shah quips that the government is making true Dr. Singh’s words. Mr. Nadda says this Bill is in the interest of the nation.

Rajya Sabha | 12.45 p.m.

Mr. Sharma, during the debate on CAB, says that India has ratified the Human Rights Convention’s accord.

No manifesto should go against the Constitution, he says. He says that Gandhi would be disappointed in this government.

Lok Sabha | 12.30 p.m.

In Lok Sabha, government has proposed to send Personal Data Protection Bill to joint select committee of both Houses, Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad says.

He recalls how India gave equal status to people who migrated from Partition. He reminds the House former PMs Manmohan Singh and I.K. Gujaral migrated from Pakistan.

Rajya Sabha | 12.30 pm

Anand Sharma (Congress) opposes the Bill. He says the Bill is against the preamble of the Constitution. He brings up the story of Swami Vivekananda speaking in the World Religion Congress saying that India has sheltered people from all religions.

Rajya Sabha | 12.20 pm

Explaining the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, Home minister Amit Shah says the refugees who have entered India before Dec. 31, 2014 will be granted citizenship on the day they arrived here.

Any cases pertaining to migration will be withdrawn.

The Bill will not be applicable in Inner Line Permit areas of northeastern states.

Mr. Shah accuses the previous Congress governments of not setting up committee under Section 6 of Assam Accord. Opposition members oppose. Mr. Shah goes on to list out the measures taken by the Centre to develop Assam.

He moves the Bill. The Chair says six hours has been alloted.

Rajya Sabha | 12 noon

The House takes up The Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2019 for debate. Sukhendu Sekhar Ray says the discussion on the Bill should be adjourned till it is scrutinised. Chair says that there is no ground for seeking adjournment on the debate.

Opposition members move resolution to send controversial Citizenship Amendment Bill to Rajya Sabha select committee.

Home Minister Amit Shah rises to introduce the Bill. He calls it a historic Bill. He says that lakhs and crores of people who have been in the country for years now will get freedom.

Mr. Shah says the CAB was part of the BJP's manifesto and the victory means people have accepted the CAB. He says the manifesto says we will address the concerns of the northeast.

He explains the salient features of the Bill. He claims the media is saying the Bill is anti-minorities and anti-Muslims. Do you want Muslims in Pakistan to be granted Indian citizenship, he asks. Treasury Bench applauds him.

Lok Sabha | 11.45 a.m.

Rajnath Singh asnwers questions on the export of Defence equipment.

Supriya Sule (NCP) asks about Make in India and the lack of jobs created from it. She says there are a lot of companies want to be involved in the export.

Shashi Tharoor (INC) says Defence production in India has gone up 12%, but there is a dependence on foreign OEMs.

Lok Sabha | 11.30 a.m.

Kanimozhi (DMK) says Railways is the only department which uses manual scavenging and the people who do it are not given protective gear.

Mr. Goyal says that across the country manual scavenging has been gotten rid of. He says that whatever muck there is on railway tracks was inherited in 2014. More than 90% toilets have been converted to bio-toilets.

Syed Imtiaz Jaleel (AIMIM) asks a question on India’s share in global trade. Mr. Jaleel asks how the government plans to deal with tough competition from China.

Lok Sabha | 11.20 a.m.

Manoj Kotak, BJP asks if ex-servicemen can get an exemption from property taxes. Mr. Naik says the government will consider it.

Bhagirath Chaudhary (BJP) asks about the Pushkar-Merta railway line.

Dayanidhi Maran (DMK) says the Railway Ministry is acting against the Prime Minister and Swachch Bharat. He says suburban railway stations in and around Chennai do not have toilet facilities.

Suresh Angadi, MoS, Railways asks Mr. Maran to come to his office and he will show the Member how every station is maintained.

Railway Minister Piyush Goyal says that every station across the country has a toilet. He says nowhere in the world do suburban stations have toilets. In the circulating area around the station, the Railways has provided toilets in over 2,000 stations.

Lok Sabha | 11.15 a.m.

Arvind Sawant (Shiv Sena) says that BSNL employees have not received salaries. He also asks if the government is concentrating on service restoration.

Sanjay Shamrao Dhotre, MoS, Communications says this is a priority for the government.

Shrikant Eknath Shinde (Shiv Sena) says ex-servicement cannot access polyclinics in Thane and have to travel to Mumbai. Otherwise they have to go to empanelled hospitls where they have to bear 50% of the cost.

Shripad Yesso Naik, MoS, Defence asks the Member to give him the details and the government will set up a polyclinic there.

Mr. Shinde says that reservation for ex-servicemen must be enforced in the House, quoting former Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar. He wants ex-servicemen to receive reservation in Group A and B jobs too. Mr. Naik says the government will work towards this.

N.K. Premachandran (RSP) wants clarity on the definition of ex-servicemen. He says BSF, CRPF are not considered ex-servicemen. Will the benefits available to ex-servicemen be extended to those in paramilitary forces, he asks.

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh says this is an issue concerning the Ministry of Home Affairs, and the Home Minister will have to answer this.

Rajya Sabha | 11.10 am

Some Rajya Sabha members want a discussion on GST dues to States from the Centre. Chairman M. Venkaiah Naidu rejects it. TRS members hold placards and try to storm to well.

Mr. Naidu warns the House will be adjourned. Ruckus in the House. Biswajit Daimary, Assam MP, talks about tribal welfare needed in the State. As pandemonium continues, the Chair asks telecast to be cut.

House is adjourned.

Lok Sabha | 11.00 am

Lok Sabha assembles. Speaker Om Birla is in the Chair. He proceeds to Question Hour. Opposition MPs indulge in sloganeering.

Members are asking questions pertaining to mobile towers.

Rajya Sabha | 11.00 am

Rajya Sabha session begins. M. Venkaiah Naidu is in the Chair. Papers are being laid on the table.

10.30 am

 

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The article has been edited to correct an error in the date of the 2001 Parliament attack.

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