The Supreme Court bench comprising Chief Justice UU Lalit, Justices Ravindra Bhat and Bela M. Trivedi heard the petitions challenging the Citizenship Amendment Act, 2019 on Monday.
During the hearing, Senior Advocate P Wilson, appearing for Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) party sought reply from the Centre on the applicability of the 2019 Act on the Hindu Tamils in Sri Lanka. He stated–
"We also have to look at Sri Lankan Tamils. There's no reply by the Solicitor General on this."
The Court has adjourned the matter to December 6, 2022 and directed the parties to complete the pleadings in the meantime.
The 2019 Act amends the Citizenship Act 1955 to liberalize the norms for granting citizenship to non-Muslim migrants who came to India from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan before December 31, 2014. The Centre has said that the Act is intended to protect minorities who migrated from these countries due to fear of religious persecution.
DMK, which is one among the over 200 petitioners who have challenged the Act, has contended that there is no rationale in confining the benefit of the amendment to only three countries. The party has argued that it is an arbitrary classification as minorities who are facing similar persecution in other neighbouring countries are excluded.
Recently, in a significant obervation, the Madras High Court (Madurai Bench) had said that the principles of the Citizenship (Amendment) Act 2019 can very well be made applicable to the Hindu Tamils who were the primary victims of the racial strife in Sri Lanka. The bench of Justice G. R. Swaminathan of Madras High Court observed this as it took into account the fact that Sri Lanka does not fall within the ambit of CAA 2019.
CASE TITLE: Indian Union of Muslim League And Ors. v. UoI And Ors. WP(C) No. 1470/2019