The Citizenship (Amendment) Bill is not in violation of constitutional provisions, Home Minister Amit Shah asserted on Monday night as he responded to a debate on the contentious legislation in the Lok Sabha.
It will give relief to people living a painful life after facing persecution in neighbouring countries, he said.
Had India not been divided on religious lines, there was no need for the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, he said targeting the opposition Congress.
The Bill is not violative of Article 14 of the Constitution as it aims to give citizenship to persecuted people, he said.
According to the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2019, members of Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, Parsi and Christian communities, who have come from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan, till December 31 2014, facing religious persecution there, will not be treated as illegal immigrants but given Indian citizenship.
The bill, which has been opposed by the Congress, Trinamool Congress and other opposition parties, was introduced after a division of votes for which 293 MPs voted in favour and 82 against it.