IUML moves SC challenging Citizenship (Amendment) Bill

IUML moves SC challenging Citizenship (Amendment) Bill

Security personnel patrol a street during curfew, a day after unrest against the Citizenship Amendment Bill, in Guwahati. PTI

Indian Union Muslim League, along with its four MPs, on Thursday approached the Supreme Court challenging validity of the changes in law allowing citizenship to illegal migrants from Afghanistan, Pakistan and Bangladesh as Indian citizens to those only belonging to Hindu, Sikh, Buddhism, Jain, Parsi and Christian religions, except the Muslims.

They contended the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2019, notified on Thursday night, was contrary to principle and spirit of secularism and the basic structure of the constitution, besides being in violation of the fundamental rights related to equality, non-discrimination on the basis of religion and life and liberty.

A day after passage of the Bill by the upper house of Parliament, the prominent political party from Kerala and its Lok Sabha MPs P K Kunhalikutty, E T Mohammed Basheer and Rajya Sabha MPs Abdul Wahab and K Navas kani filed the joint petition urging the top court to strike it down.

The PIL drawn by advocate Haris Beeran maintained the amendment Act was “patently premised on the discrimination against the Muslims”. The Bill was granted assent by the President on Thursday night. 

“With the passage of the Amendment Act, and the nationwide implementation of NRC as declared by the Union Home Minister Amit Shah on November 20, 2019, it shall ensure that those illegal migrants who are Muslims shall be prosecuted,” they apprehended.

The petitioners claimed that a direct and inevitable consequence of it was those belonging to Islam would be “disproportionately targeted” on failing to prove the citizenship, in violation of Article 14 of the Constitution.

Maintaining that the changes in the law “denied the equal treatment to all religion in the eyes of law,” the petitioners claimed those also went against the core principles of human rights as provided in Universal declaration of human rights (UDHR), International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), International Covenant on Social, Cultural and Economic Rights (ICESCR).

“The CA, 2019 runs contrary to the foundational value and principle of ‘secularism’ as it does not intend to countenance the idea of treating the minority as second class citizen. However, the religious based classification of the CA, Act 2019 violates the same and attempts to classify the persons belonging to Muslim would only be considered as an ‘illegal migrant’,” they said.

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