New Delhi: The day Central government notified the controversial Citizenship Amedment Act, 12 petitions were filed in the Supreme Court on Friday challenging the constitutional validity of the law that grant citizenship based on religion.
TMC Lok Sabha member Mahua Moitra approached Chief Justice S.A. Bobde’s court seeking an urgent hearing of her petition, after which the day saw more than 11 petitioners approaching the top court to challenge the law, which is at the root of turmoil in Assam and other Northeastern states.
Following Mr Moitra, there were petitions by Congress lawmaker in Rajya Sabha Jairam Ram-esh, former high commissioner Deb Mukherjee, the Uttar Pradesh-based Peace Party, NGOs Rihai Manch and Citizens Against Hate, Ehtesham Hashmi, Pradyot Deb Bar-man, Jan Adhikaar Party, advocate M.L. Sharma and students from Symb-iosis Law School.
The court was also moved the by All Assam Students Union which has contended that the Section 2, 3, 5 and 6 of the Citizenship Amendment Act are unconstitutional. A petition by the leader of Opposition in Assam Assembly Debabrata Sai-kia stated that the amended citizenship law violates the Assam accord.
In essence, the basic contention of all the petitions is that the controversial Act negated not only secularism, which is a part of the Preamble of the Constitution, but also the liberal ethos, equality and justice.
The PIL by the Rihai Manch, Citizens Against Hate says that religion-based classification under the amended Citizenship Act is constitutionally immoral and antithetical to the idea of Republic of India.
Mr Ramesh in his PIL contended that the amended citizenship law is a “brazen attack on the core fundamental rights envisaged under the Constitution ‘’’ (and) ex facie violates the fundamental guarantees under Article 14 as also Article 21 of the Constitution.”
He has further contended that the citizenship law under challenge has been enacted “disregarding the Report of the Joint Parliamentary Committee dated 07.01.2019 as also the terms of the Accord between AASU, AAGSP and the Central Government on the Foreign National Issue signed on 15.08.1985 (Assam Accord).”