Citizenship Amendment Bill 2019: Rajya Sabha voted against an opposition motion to send the Citizenship Amendment Bill to the Select Committee of the Upper House. A Select Committee is a panel comprising members of a House where it is formed and deals with a specific subject. The motion was rejected after 124 members against it while 99 voted in favour of the motion. The motion was moved by CPM MP KK Ragesh.
The legislation, which allows citizenship for Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis, and Christians who illegally migrated to India from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, and Pakistan, was passed by Lok Sabha on Monday.
Several MPs of opposition parties moved a motion to send the bill to the select committee of the Upper House. The Bill and the opposition motion were put to vote after a debate on it.
Former NDA and current Congress ally Shiv Sena walked out of the Rajya Sabha ahead of the votes on the amendments and motions moved by Opposition members and the passage of the bill. On Tuesday, party chief Uddhav Thackeray said that the party wouldn't support the bill if the queries raised in the Lok Sabha were unanswered.
Earlier, Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Wednesday rejected the Opposition's charge that the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill was anti-Muslim, saying it does not take away the citizenship of any Indian Muslim and only seeks to given the same to persecuted minorities of three neighbouring countries.
Replying to a debate on the bill in Rajya Sabha, he said the need to bring this Bill would not have arisen had Partition not taken place on the basis of religion. The Bill does not snatch citizenship of Muslims and their is no need for them to have any fear, he said. "We have included six religions. There is no appreciation. The only focus is on Muslims.... Are Muslims in Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan minorities.... Isn't it secularism?"
"Will it be secularism only if Muslims are included. As per your definition, only if Muslims come, then it will be secularism," Shah said, adding that in the last five years, over 500 Muslims have been accorded Indian citizenship.
Countering the Opposition's charge that the bill is unconstitutional, he said that Article 14 of the Constitution does not prohibit Parliament from making laws in this regard if there is reasonable classification. "There is a specific class. We are taking all minorities," Shah said.