Tribune News Service
New Delhi, December 9
The Government on Monday introduced the contentious Citizenship Amendment Bill 2019 in Lok Sabha after 293 members voted in favour of the introduction as against 82 members who opposes the Bill from being brought to the House.
The demand to have a division on the introduction of the Bill came from the Congress-led opposition, which resisted the Bill terming it unconstitutional.
Following an hour-long acrimonious back and forth between the opposition and the Government on whether the House can take up the Bill, the Lok Sabha voted in favour of the controversial legislation that provides for citizenship to the following minorities who have faced religious persecution in three nations bordering India — Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh — Hindus, Buddhists, Jains, Sikhs, Christians, Parsis.
Answering the objections of Congress, TMC, IUML and SP leaders who questioned the exclusion of Muslims from the list of minorities covered in the Bill, Home Minister Amit Shah attacked the Congress saying the legislation would not be necessary had the Congress prevented India’s Partition on religion basis.
“You allowed the country to be divided on the basis and religion and that is why this Bill has today become necessary,” a combative Shah said as the ruling MPs thumped their desks in agreement.
Shah also rejected the opposition contentions that the Bill discriminated with Muslims or is against Article 14 of the Constitution, which guarantees equality before law and said governments have in the past invoked the principle of reasonable classification allowed by the Constitution to make laws in respect of citizenship.
He cited former PM Indira Gandhi’s move to give Indian citizenship to Bangladeshi refugees in 1971, former PM Rajiv Gandhi’s Assam Accord that accepted immigrants until 1971, the cut off year.
“Why did Indira Gandhi not accept refugees from
Pakistan at the time? Why did Rajiv Gandhi fix 1971 as the cut-off date under Assam Accord? Because of reasonable classification. We have also brought the Bill under the reasonable classification clause,” Shah said.
The HM explained the logic of the Bill and the reasonable classification saying the bill covers minorities who have faced religious persecution in Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh which have Islam as the state religion.
“It’s foolhardy to suggest Muslims will face persecution in Islamic nations. The rest of the refugees who have come to India and have faced persecution in the above mentioned three nations will be granted Indian citizenship under the principle of reasonable classification the Constitution provides,” Shah said.
Earlier, Congress leader Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury argued that the Bill violates the Preamble of the Constitution, which guarantees equality.
RSP’s NK Premchandran, TMC’s Saugata Roy, Congress’ Shashi Tharoor and Gaurav Gogoi and IUML’s PK Kunhalikutty all opposes the Bill on grounds of violation of Article 14.
Shah countered them all asking if they would call special provisions for Muslims as an affront to Article 14?
“Would you?” he asked as a livid Congress president Sonia Gandhi looked on.
Rahul Gandhi was not in the House.
All readers are invited to post comments responsibly. Any messages with foul language or inciting hatred will be deleted. Comments with all capital letters will also be deleted. Readers are encouraged to flag the comments they feel are inappropriate. The views expressed in the Comments section are of the individuals writing the post. The Tribune does not endorse or support the views in these posts in any manner.
'No bar on probing past crimes of Davinder Singh'
Allege she was not consulting them before taking decisions
After calling him to Canada, she left him citing ‘extramarit...
UT completes formalities to acquire 13 acres in Dadu Majra &...
226 were held with drugs, including cocaine, charas, ganja, ...
Narrow escape for victim as bullet misses shoulder
Delhi CM promises free bus rides for students, mohalla marsh...
To hold protest from 5 to 7 pm daily for a week
Council of Engineers lodges complaint with NGT chief
Have been asked to construct canal for waste discharge
Health Corporation, college authorities blame each other for...
61 cases were reported in 2019; Health Dept taking proactive...