News By/Courtesy: Ayush Garg | 22 May 2020 19:19pm IST

HIGHLIGHTS

  • petitioners have highlighted that similarly situated persecuted groups such as Ahmadiyyas of Pakistan, Rohingyas of Myanmar, Tamils of Sri Lanka etc have not brought under the purview of the Act
  • A bench comprising Chief Justice SA Bobde and Justices AS Bopanna & Hrishikesh Roy while issuing notice to the batch of petitions
  • fresh petitions have been filed by by Tamil Nadu Thowheed Jamath, Shalim Muslim Students Federation Assam, All Assam Students Union and one Sachin Yadav.

The Supreme Court issued a notice to the Center on a new petition challenging the constitutional validity of the Citizenship Amendment Act and attached it to the already pending petitions. This petition has stated that keeping the Muslim class explicitly separate is a violation of the rights of equality and secularism of Muslims as provided in the Constitution.
A bench of Chief Justice SA Bobde, Justice AS Bopanna, and Justice Hrishikesh Rai issued notices while hearing the case through video conferencing. The bench ordered these petitions to be attached to the already pending petitions on the same issue. These petitions have been filed by Tamil Nadu Tauheed Jamaat, Shalim, All Assam Law Students Union, Muslim Students Federation, and Sachin Yadav.
As per the petitions, a purely religious classification, devoid of any determining principle, violates the fundamental constitutional value of secularism and Article 14 of the Constitution. The exclusion of Muslims from the Act amounts to unreasonable classification but also violates secularism, which is a basic structure of the Constitution.
The petitioners have highlighted that similarly situated persecuted groups such as Ahmadiyyas of Pakistan, Rohingyas of Myanmar, Tamils of Sri Lanka, etc are not brought under the purview of the Act. This leads to unequal treatment of equals. The exclusion is purely linked to religion, and hence it is an impermissible classification under Article 14. The petitioners further state that associating citizenship with religious identity shakes the secular foundation of the Indian Republic.
Some of the Assam-based petitioners argue that the Act violates the Assam Accord of 1986. As per the 1985 Accord, all those who had entered Assam from Bangladesh after March 24, 1971 are treated as illegal migrants. The Accord was entered following years of agitations led by Assam groups demanding the expulsion of illegal migrants from the State.
The petitioners argue that the CAA - which makes non-Muslim migrants from Bangladesh who had entered India before December 31, 2014 eligible for Indian citizenship - dilutes the Assam Accord.
 The constitutionality of this law has been challenged by Indian Union Muslim League as well as Congress leader Jairam Ramesh, RJD leader Manoj Jha, Trinamool Congress MP Mahua Moitra. They argue that the Citizenship Amendment Act violates the fundamental right to equality provided in the Constitution and the provision of granting citizenship to members of a class based on religion is illegal.

Section Editor: Pushpit Singh | 22 May 2020 20:03pm IST


Tags : Supreme Court, Citizens amendment act

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