India's top court refused to stall a new law on Wednesday (December 18) that's prompted violent protests across the country.
The Citizenship Amendment Act gives non-Muslim minorities from neighbouring countries Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan a path to Indian citizenship.
The government says the law was intended to address the persecution of religious minorities, such as Hindus, Sikhs and Christians, in those Muslim-majority countries.
But thousands have protested, saying the exclusion of Muslims from the law is anti-Islam and weakens the secular foundations of India.
Some protesters believe it is a measure by the Hindu nationalist government to marginalise the community.
Buses and train stations have been torched, and on Wednesday police fired shots to push back thousands of demonstrators throwing stones and glass bottles.
The Supreme Court said it would hear petitions challenging the constitutional validity of the law on January 22.