12 Dec 2019 5:32 AM GMT
The Indian Union Muslim League(IUML) on Thrusday moved the Supreme Court challenging the Citizenship Amendment Bill 2019, even as it awaits President's assent to become an Act. The Bill, which was cleared by Rajya Sabha on Wednseday and Lok Sabha on Monday, amends the Citizenship Act 1955 to liberalize the norms for granting citizenship to non-Muslim migrants from Pakistan, Bangaldesh...
The Indian Union Muslim League(IUML) on Thrusday moved the Supreme Court challenging the Citizenship Amendment Bill 2019, even as it awaits President's assent to become an Act.
The Bill, which was cleared by Rajya Sabha on Wednseday and Lok Sabha on Monday, amends the Citizenship Act 1955 to liberalize the norms for granting citizenship to non-Muslim migrants from Pakistan, Bangaldesh and Afghanistan.
IUML Members of Parliament P K Kunhalikutty, E T Muhammed Basheer, Abdul Wahab and K Navas Kani have also joined as petitioners in the writ petition filed under Article 32 of the Constitution of India.
The petitioners state that while they do not oppose the grant of citizenship to migrants, they are aggrieved by the discrimination and illegal classification based on religion. The exclusion of Muslims from the Act amounted to religion based discrimination.
"It is submitted that illegal migrants are class by itself and therefore any law which is applicable to them should be irrespective of any religion, cast or nationality basis", the petition filed through Advocates Haris Beeran and Pallavi Pratap said.
As per the petition, the religious segregation made by the Bil is without any reasonable differentiation and results in violation of Article 14 and also the very idea of India as a country which treats people of all faiths equally. The Indian Constitution only recognizes citizenship by birth, descent or acquisition by bonafide residence. The Bill makes religion a criteria for citizenship. The linking of religion to citizenship is opposed to secularism, which is a part of the basic structure of the Constitution.
The Central Government justified the Amendment stating that it was necessary to protect religious minorities who were facing religious persecution in theocratic states bordering India. Questioning this intent, the petitioners submit that Sri Lanka and Bhutan, which have official religions, are excluded from the law. The Amendment has excluded minorities such as the Ahmadiyyas, Shias and the Hazaras who have a long history of persecution in Afghanistan and Pakistan, said the petitioners.
"CA, Act 2019 explicitly discriminates against the Muslims. The Act extends the benefit to individuals belonging Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christians, but excludes the same benefit to the individuals belonging to the Islam religion. Since, CA, Act 2019 discriminates on the basis of core and intrinsic trait of the individual i.e religion of the individual, it cannot form a reasonable classification based on intelligible differentia", the petitioners argued.
The yardsticks adopted for selecting the countries and categories of persons are not uniformly applied, contend the petitioners. They point out the exclusion of Myanmar and also the inclusion of Afghanistan (which was not a part of British India, and has no history of partition) in this regard. The exclusion of Sri Lankan Tamil refugees, and Rohingya Muslims are also highlighted in the plea.
The petitioners also voice the apprehension that the Act will result in harm to Muslims in the exercise of National Register of Citizens which is proposed to be carried out nationwide.
"with the passage of the Amendment Act, and the nationwide implementation of NRC, it shall ensure that those illegal migrants who are Muslims shall be prosecuted and, those illegal migrants who are Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christians such shall be given the benefit of naturalization as an Indian Citizen", stated the plea.
The petitioners seek the striking down of the Bill as unconstitutional for being violative of Articles 14 and 21 of the Constitution. They also seek a stay of the operation of the law during the pendency of the case.
Click here to download the petition