Rajya Sabha passes Citizenship Amendment Bill amid stiff opposition

The Bill was passed by a margin of just 20 votes with 125 members voting in favour of the bill and 105 against it

Rajya Sabha passes Citizenship Amendment Bill amid stiff opposition
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NH Web Desk

The Rajya Sabha on Wednesday passed the contentious Citizenship Amendment Bill, 2019, amid stiff resistance by the Opposition parties.

The Bill was passed by a margin of just 20 votes with 125 members voting in favour of the bill and 105 against it.

Earlier, a proposal moved by the Opposition to refer the Bill to a select committee of the House for a proper scrutiny was rejected by almost the similar margin.

In the course of the passage of the Bill, all the amendments moved by the Opposition members were defeated.

Besides BJP, its allies such as JD-U and Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD), the legislation was supported by AIADMK, Biju Janata Dal (BJD), Telugu Desam Party (TDP) and YSR-Congress.

The major Opposition parties which voted against the Bill included Congress, Samajwadi Party, Trinamool Congress, the Left parties, DMK, Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), Bahujan Samaj Party, Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) and Aam Aadmi Party.

The Shiv Sena abstained from voting and walked out of the House.

The Bill, that seeks to give Indian citizenship to non-Muslim migrants from Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh who came to India before January 1, 2015, had been passed by Lok Sabha on Monday. It will now go to the President for his assent.

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.

On why persecuted minorities from countries such as Sri Lanka were not part of the legislation, Shah said Tamils from the island country had been given Indian citizenship in past and the present law is to tackle a specific problem.

To repeated questions from Opposition of Muslims being left out, he said Muslims have not been included for giving citizenship because the proposed law is for persecuted minorities in the three countries.

He said Muslims from other countries have the right to apply for Indian citizenship as per existing rules. As many as 566 Muslims have been given citizenship, he said.

He also said the bill does not violate Article 14 of the Constitution as it does not prohibit laws based on reasonable classification.

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Published: 11 Dec 2019, 9:08 PM
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