It also challenged the Passport (Entry to India) Amendment Rules 2016 and Foreigners (Amendment) Order 2016 being unconstitutional.
New Delhi: The Kerala government on Tuesday moved the Supreme Court challenging the constitutional validity of the Citizenship (Amendment) Act 2019, describing it as a “colou-rable legislation” violative of the basic structure principle of secularism in the Constitution.
Kerala, which has beco-me the first state to challenge the CAA in court, has sought a declaration that the CAA is ultra vires of the Constitution, being violative of Article 14 (equality for before the law), Article 21 (right to life) and Article 25 (right to freedom of religion) as well as violative of the basic structure.
Besides challenging the constitutional validity of the CAA, Kerala has also challenged the amendment to the Passport (Entry to India) Amendment Rules 2015 and Foreigners (Amend-ment) Order 2015, contending that they too are in the teeth of Article 14, 21 and 25 of the Constitution. It also challenged the Passport (Entry to India) Amendment Rules 2016 and Foreigners (Amendment) Order 2016 being unconstitutional.
Kerala has joined more than 60 petitioners who are already before the court challenging the CAA and the 2015 and 2016 amendments to the Passport (Entry to India) Amendment Rules, and Foreigners (Amendment) Order.
The CAA and amendments to the Passport (Entry to India) Amend-ment Rules and Foreig-ners (Amendment) Order, Kerala has contended, is a “colourable legislation” and the grant of citizenship to Hindus, Sikhs, Parsis, Christians, Budd-hists and Jains facing persecution in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Bangladesh is not founded on any rationale principle justifying special treatment.
“There is no rationale in not extending the rights conferred to a class of minorities from Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangla-desh to religious minorities belonging to... Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Nepal and Bhutan”, says the petition by the Kerala government.
Saying the classification of Afghanistan, Pakistan and Bangladesh was without any rationale or any standard principles, Kerala has claimed that the entire exercise was manifestly arbitrary and violates Article 14 of the Constitution.
The Supreme Court had on December 18 sought the response of the Centre on a batch of petitions that challenged the constitutional validity of the CAA that provides for the grant of Indian citizenship to illegal migrants from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan belonging to the Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, Parsi and Christian faiths, barring only Muslims.
The court will hold a further hearing on January 22, when it would also consider the plea for a stay on the citizenship law, which was described by the petitioner as contrary to the provisions of the Constitution.
The Centre has opposed any stay on the controversial law contending the statute under challenge cannot be stalled as there was an assumption of constitutionality in favour of the statute passed by Parliament.
Broadly, the petitioners opposed to the CAA have contended that it was contrary to secularism, which is a part of the Preamble of the Constitution, violative of fundamental rights guaranteeing equality before the law (Article 14), prohibition of discrimination on the grounds of religion, caste, language, colour (Article 15) and the right to life guaranteed under Article 21 of the Constitution.