Citizenship Amendment Bill (CAB) is against the basic principles of Indian constitution, so, we have approached the Indian Supreme Court for justice, Indian Union Muslim League (IUML) leader and parliamentarian PK Kunhalikutty has said.
Filing the petition in person on Thursday morning in the Supreme Court with ET Mohammed Basheer, Abdul Wahab, and K Navas Kani (IUML parliamentarian from Tamil Nadu), Kunhalikutty said that the current central government is using the British theory of divide and rule.
“The CAB is against Article 14, which prohibits discrimination on the ground of religion & Article 21 which guarantees the right to life and liberty, apply to all persons whether they are citizens or not,” Kunhalikutty said.
“This CAB will lead to serious issues. If they can do it in the name of religion now, tomorrow it will be in the name language, colour, and race,” Kunhalikutty said.
The IUML is the first political party that has approached the Supreme Court challenging the CAB which was passed by the Rajya Sabha on Wednesday and earlier in the Lok Sabha.
The Bill got the clearance from the Lok Sabha on December 09 with 311 MPs voting in favour and 80 against the Bill.
It passed the test in the Rajya Sabha on December 11 with 125 votes in favour and 99 votes against the Bill.
The Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, will provide Indian citizenship to non-Muslims who left Afghanistan, Bangladesh, and Pakistan and entered India before 2015.
It will now go to the Indian President for his assent.
CAB amends the Citizenship Act of 1955 and makes migrants from religious minorities – Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christians – from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan, who entered India on or before 31 December 2014, eligible for Indian citizenship.
And according to the CAB, the requirement of residence has also been relaxed. Now the Indian citizenship will be granted to the immigrant who has lived in India in the last one year and at least five of the last 14 years. Earlier for the migrants, citizenship by naturalisation was 11 years.
Senior Congress party leader and parliamentarian Kapil Sibal is the lawyer for the IUML.
The petition says that the CAB “discriminates” against religiously persecuted Muslim immigrants from Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Bangladesh.It adds that classification based on the religious identity of the individual violates Article 14 and 21 of the Constitution.
“The classification based on the religious identity of the individual offends the fundamental principle of ‘Secularism’, which is enshrined as the basic structure of the Constitution,” the petition reads.
The petitioners clarified that they are aggrieved by grant of citizenship to one section of illegal immigrants by making an exclusion based on religion. “Illegal migrants are class by itself and, therefore, any law which applies to them should be irrespective of any religion, caste or nationality basis,” they said.
The petitioners further raised apprehensions that when the proposed pan-India NRC (National Registry of Citizens) exercise is carried out, the Citizenship Amendment Act will cause widespread discrimination against Muslims.
Meanwhile, Basheer said that the direct and inevitable consequence of CAB shall be that the Pan-India NRC and proceedings before the Foreigner Tribunal would be exclusively reserved to the Muslims and thereby violates Article 14 of the Indian Constitution.
“So, we are praying to the court that it declares the Citizenship Act Amendment of 2019 as unconstitutional,” Basheer added.