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'Citizenship Amendment Act Violates Assam Accord' : All Assam Students Union Moves SC [Read Petition]

LIVELAW NEWS NETWORK
13 Dec 2019 2:53 PM GMT
Citizenship Amendment Act Violates Assam Accord : All Assam Students Union Moves SC [Read Petition]
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The All Assam Students Union (AASU) and its General Secretary Lurinjyoti Gogoi have approached the Supreme Court contending that the Citizenship Amendment Act 2019 (CAA) violated the Assam Accord of 1985.Notably, the petition has been filed when Assam is in the grip of violent protests against the CAA.As per the 1985 Accord, all those who had entered Assam from Bangladesh after March 24, 1971...

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The All Assam Students Union (AASU) and its General Secretary Lurinjyoti Gogoi have approached the Supreme Court contending that the Citizenship Amendment Act 2019 (CAA) violated the Assam Accord of 1985.

Notably, the petition has been filed when Assam is in the grip of violent protests against the CAA.

As per the 1985 Accord, all those who had entered Assam from Bangladesh after March 24, 1971 are treated as illegal migrants. The Accord was entered following years of agitations led by AASU and other groups demanding expulsion of illegal migrants from the State.

The petitioners argue that the CAA - which makes non-Muslim migrants from Bangladesh who had entered India before December 31, 2014 eligible for Indian citizenship - dilutes the Assam Accord.

The petition highlights that illegal immigration to Assam was recognized as a special problem of the region by the Supreme Court in the 2005 Sarbananda Sonawal decision. By striking down the Illegal Migrants(Determination by Tribunals) Act 1985, the SC in that judgment even declared illegal immigration to be 'external aggression' under Article 356 of the Constitution. Incidentally, the petitioner in that case is the incumbent Chief Minister of Assam.

"The result of the impugned Act will be that a large number of non-Indians, who have surreptitiously entered Assam after 25.03.1971, without possession of valid passport, travel documents or other lawful authority to do so, will be able to take citizenship and reside therein",the petition drafted by Advocates Ankit Yadav, Malavika Trivedi and T Mahipal stated.

It is also stated in the petition that the CAA has been passed as a result of "extraneous political considerations".

"Sections 2, 3, 5 and 6 of the impugned Act are in violation of the non-religious and secular fabric of the Constitution of India which is contained in the Preamble to the Constitution, as well as in Articles 15 and 25 to 27 of the Constitution of India. It is further submitted that a discrimination based on religion is not permissible" , read the plea.

Some of the key grounds urged in the petition are :

  • CAA is inconsistent with Section 6A of the Citizenship Act 1955, which gave statutory recognition to Assam Accord.
  • CAA legitimizes the stay of illegal migrants who had entered Assam after March 24, 1971.
  • CAA violates Immigrants (Expulsion from Assam) Act 1950, which was enacted to protect the indigenous people of Assam.
  • CAA violates the mandate of Registration of Foreigners Act 1939.
  • Religion based exclusion of Muslims violate Article 14 of the Constitution.
  • CAA is based on illegal classification, having no nexus with the object sought to be achieved.
  • CAA suffers from manifest arbitrariness.

The petitioners also quote the 2007 United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples to state that State is duty bound to protect indigenous people from forceful assimilation or destruction of their culture.

Questioning the intent and purpose of the CAA, the petition states :

"It is submitted that it would not be correct to say that the impugned Act has been enacted to protect persecuted communities from the neighbouring countries of India as there are several minority Muslim communities and other communities (including atheists) also in the countries in question which also face discrimination and/ or persecution from the other majority Muslim communities. It is further submitted that even the selection of just three countries with a specific state/ majority religion, while leaving out other countries with other state/ majority religions, inter alia like Sri Lanka, Myanmar, China etc. itself fails to withstand the test of a reasonable classification. It is therefore, submitted that both religion based classification and country based classification, done in Sections 2, 3, 5 and 6 of the impugned Act, are unconstitutional and liable to be struck down by this Hon'ble Court"

A slew of other petitions were also filed today, primarily contending that the exclusion of Muslim migrants from the purview of CAA amounted to violation of secularism, a basic feature of the Constitution, and Article 14. 

Indian Union Muslim League and its four MPs, TMC MP Mahua Moitra, Congress MP Jairam Ramesh, Peace Party of India, Jan Adhikar Party, a former Indian Ambassador along with two retired IAS officers, two law students along with a lawyer and journalist, etc are some of the petitioners.

Assam has been witnessing violent protests against CAA since the passage of the bill by the Rajya Sabha on Wednesday. Army has been deployed in the region. Internet shut down and curfew have been imposed. Air and rail connectivity to the state have also been snapped.

Click here to download petition

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