New Delhi: Kerala has become the first state in the country to mount a legal challenge to the controversial Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2019, or CAA, after it approached the Supreme Court by way of a suit under Article 131 of the Constitution. The articel empowers the Supreme Court to hear disputes between the contral government and states.
CAA which was passed on December 12, 2019, amends Section 2 of the Citizenship Act, 1955, which defines "illegal migrants" by adding a proviso to section 2 (1)(b). As per this new proviso, any person belonging to Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, Parsi or Christan communities from Afghanistan, Bangladesh or Pakistan, and who has been exempted by the contral government under the Passport (entry into India) Act, 1920, or the Foreigners Act, 1946, shall not be treated as "illegal migrant". Consequently, such persons shall be eligible to apply for citizenship under the 1955 act.
The exclusion of the muslim community from the proviso has led to the widespread protests across the country, as has the linking of citizenship with religion. There have also been protests against a proposed all-India National Register of Citizens (NRC) and the potential problems in the two working in combination. At least 60 petitions were filed in the Supreme Court challenging the CAA over the past month, and they are likely to be heard on January 22. The government has since clarified that a nationwide NRC isn't in the works for now.
The Kerala Assembly on December 31, 2019 passed a resolution stating that the CAA is against the secularism envisaged by the Constitution of India and urged the central government to repeal the law. Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, who has been at the forefront of opposing the law, also wrote to 11 non- Bhartiya Janta Party (BJP) cheif ministers to come together to oppose the CAA.
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