A Bill seeking to remove a lacunae relating to overseas Indian citizens was passed in the Rajya Sabha on Tuesday.
The Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2011, provides for registration of "overseas Indian cardholders" instead of "overseas citizens of India". The Bill seeks an amendment to bring within the scope of citizenship a person "who is ordinarily a resident" instead of the person who has been residing in India for a specified period.
It also provides for registration of a spouse of an Indian citizen, who is citizen of another country and whose marriage is also registered abroad. The central government can relax a provision of 12 months as resident in India as one of the qualifications for grant of citizenship by the process of naturalisation.
Law relating to overseas Indians passed by Rajya Sabha
But the overseas Indian cardholder will not be entitled to the rights conferred on citizens of the country with regard to equality of opportunity in public employment, for election as President, Vice President and appointment of judges of the Supreme Court and High Courts.
The overseas Indian cardholder will also not be entitled to be registered as a voter and cannot become a member of the legislature. However, no person who has been a citizen of Pakistan, Bangladesh or any other country as provided for by the government, shall be eligible for registration as an overseas Indian cardholder.