CAA does not affect Indian citizens' rights: Govt to SC

Citizenship Act does not affect rights of Indian citizens: Centre tells SC

Supreme Court of India (Reuters Photo)

The Centre on Tuesday contended in the Supreme Court that Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2019, does not affect the legal, democratic and secular rights of any Indian citizen.

In a 129-page affidavit, the Union government maintained the law did not violate any fundamental rights of the citizens. It said the legislation was legal and there was no question of it violating the constitutional morality.

In a response to over 150 petitions challenging the validity of CAA on various grounds including for violating the principle of secularism, the government said Indian secularism was “not irreligious”, rather it took cognisance of all religions and promoted comity and brotherhood.

“The CAA does not confer any arbitrary and unguided powers on the executive as the citizenship to the persecuted minorities of Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh would be granted in a manner as specified under the law governing grant of citizenship,” it said.

“CAA does not impinge upon any right that may have existed prior to the enactment of the amendment and further, in no manner whatsoever, seeks to affect the legal, democratic or secular rights of any of the Indian citizens. The existing regime for obtaining citizenship of India by foreigners of any country is untouched by CAA and remains the same,” it added.

The amended law sought to grant citizenship to non-Muslim migrants belonging to Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Christian, Jain and Parsi communities who came to the country from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan on or before December 31, 2014, due to religious persecution.

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