India's Supreme Court refused requests Wednesday to stop the implementation of a new controversial citizenship law.
The Citizenship Amendment Act grants Indian citizenship to immigrants from three nearby countries – unless they're Muslim.
The passage of the law prompted violent protests in India. Critics argue it's unconstitutional to deny citizenship based on religion and that the law would be used to marginalize the country's 200 million Muslims.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Hindu nationalist government has defended the law, saying it would "alleviate the suffering" of many persecuted people.
India's Supreme Court plans to hear dozens of petitions challenging the measure on Jan. 22. In the meantime, the court has asked the federal government to file a response to those petitions.
Additional reporting from Newsy affiliate CNN.