New Delhi, Dec 12 (IANS) A writ petition was filed in the Supreme Court on Thursday by the Indian Union Muslim League (IUML) claiming that the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill (CAB) 2019, passed by Parliament on Wednesday, violates Article 14 of the Constitution.
The Bill, which proposes to give Indian citizenship to non-Muslim migrants from three countries in the neighbourhood — Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh — has been ratified in both the houses, but it is awaiting Presidential assent.
“The amendment is prima facie communal and clearly creates distinction on the basis of a person’s religion. It aims to establish a legal framework for granting citizenship based on such religious discrimination,” said the petition.
The petitioners — MPs P.K. Kunhalikutty, E.T Mohammed Basheer, Abdul Wahab and K. Navaskani — contended that they do not have any grievances about granting citizenship to migrants but their grievance is against the discrimination and unreasonable classification based on religion.
“It is submitted that illegal migrants are a class by itself and therefore any law which is applicable to them should be irrespective of any religion, caste or nationality basis. The amendment seeks to segregate persons on the basis of their religion and grant them the benefit of naturalization”, said the petition.
The petitioners claim that religious segregation without any reasonable differentiation, not only violates Article 14, but is also blatantly opposed to the very basic structure of the Constitution and to the idea of India as a country, which treats people of all faiths equally.
The amendment outrightly discriminates on the basis of religion, and also legitimizes the grant of citizenship on the basis of religion. The petitioners urged the apex court to “issue a writ or direction declaring the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2019 to be in violation of Article 14 of the Constitution and striking down the same”.
The plea was filed through advocate Pallavi Pratap. The petition said denying the citizenship benefits to Ahmaddiyyas, Hazaras and Shia sects within three neighbours “is unable to satisfy that the nexus prong of objective sought to be achieved, which is protection of minorities facing religious persecution in the Afghanistan, Pakistan and Bangladesh”.
The petition said that due to the CAB illegal Muslim migrants excluded after the NRC exercise would end up facing prosecution and those belonging to the community of Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christians shall avail of naturalization as Indian citizens.
“Therefore, all those Muslims who have been excluded in such pan India NRC exercise shall have to prove their citizenship before the Foreigners Tribunal, all because they are Muslims and not Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christians. This blatant discrimination put into legislation by the Amendment Act is not only unconstitutional but also inhumane and opposed to the very idea of our Nation,” said the petition.