Citizenship Bill yet to be listed

The Opposition made the plea at a meeting with M. Venkaiah Naidu on Thursday.  

The government has so far not listed the much anticipated and controversial Citizenship Amendment Bill (CAB).

On Thursday, at the business advisory meeting where the government lays down the legislative business for days ahead, the Opposition asked the government to ensure that the Bill is not sprung as a surprise.

According to rules and procedures of business, MPs must be given two days’ notice to read and analyse legislation. However, the Chairman, using his discretion, can allow less time.

On August 5, when Home Minister Amit Shah introduced the Jammu and Kashmir re-organisation Bill and another to dilute Article 370, the members were taken by surprise. They got copies of the Bill moments after Mr. Shah moved the legislation in the Rajya Sabha.

At Thursday’s meeting, according to sources, the Opposition parties appealed to Rajya Sabha Chairman M. Venkaiah Naidu that they should not be given similar treatment as in the Kashmir legislation. “We told Mr. Naidu to ensure that we are given adequate time to study the Bill since it has overwhelming implications,” said an Opposition leader.

Numbers in RS

In the 16th Lok Sabha, the CAB 2018 was cleared in the Lower House. It was sent to the select committee, where nine out of the thirty members submitted a dissent note. The government, however, failed to move it in the Upper House fearing its defeat, since the numbers were stacked against them at that point. The Home Ministry has to move a new Bill now, which has to be cleared by the Cabinet before being tabled in Parliament.

“We have enough numbers now in the Rajya Sabha to ensure smooth passage of CAB,” a senior BJP Minister said. The BJP has indicated that the Bill will be presented and cleared before the close of winter session on December 13.

The Congress had sent a team of six leaders on a five-day tour of northeastern States to discuss the National Register of Citizens and CAB with its cadres.

“Except for three district Congress committees in Assam, every State is opposed to CAB and we shall oppose it tooth and nail,” one of the members of the committee said.