The Indian Union Muslim League (IUML) on Thursday moved the Supreme Court challenging the amendments to the Citizenship Act, saying the changes “breach the core tenants of secularism and violate basic structure of the Constitution” by “discriminating among persons on the basis of their faith and religion”.
The petitioners, including Lok Sabha MPs P K Kunhalikutty, E T Mohammed Basheer and K Navas Kani and Rajya Sabha MP Abdul Wahab, claimed that “imperative historical factual aspects have been overlooked to suit the political ideology of the ruling party”.
The plea, filed through advocates Haris Beeran and Pallavi Pratap, said that the petitioners “do not have any grievances in granting citizenship to migrants but the petitioners’ grievance is directed against discrimination and unreasonable classification based on religion”.
“Illegal migrants are class by itself and therefore any law which is applicable to them should be irrespective of any religion, caste or nationality basis,” it said.
They said the new law “seeks to segregate persons on the basis of their religion and grant them the benefit of naturalization, if they belong to a certain religion, in this case Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christians,who are from Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh”, adding that “this religious segregation without any reasonable differentiation, not only violates Article 14, but is also blatantly opposed to the… very idea of India as a country which treats people of all faiths equally”.
The petitioners said that the “Statement of Objects and Reasons” for the amendments said that India has had migration of people from Afghanistan, Pakistan and Bangladesh, “and these countries were a part of undivided India” whereas “Afghanistan was never a part of undivided India” and “therefore the reason of its inclusion is still unclear”.
They pointed out that it is being said that these three countries are included as they have a state religion, which countries like Sri Lanka, Nepal and Bhutan also had but they have been excluded from the ambit of the amendment.
The amended provisions also “excluded minorities such as the Ahmadiyyas, Shias and the Hazaras who have a long history of persecution in Afghanistan and Pakistan and still continue being persecuted”, it said. The petition also referred to the alleged persecution of Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar and Tamil Hindus in Lanka and wondered why they had not been included in CAB.