Citizenship Act: TMC MP Mahua Moitra moves SC against law
Trinamool Congress (TMC) MP Mahua Moitra on Friday moved the Supreme Court against the controversial Citizenship Act, which has sparked intense protests, especially in the Northeastern state of Assam. The report comes a day after the Indian Union Muslim League (IUML) filed a plea in the apex court against the law before it received President Ram Nath Kovind's assent. Here are more details.
According to Bar & Bench, Moitra's plea was mentioned before a Supreme Court bench, headed by Chief Justice of India Sharad Arvind Bobde and comprising Justices BR Gavai and Surya Kant, early Friday morning. However, CJI SA Bobde denied the appeal for an urgent hearing, directing Moitra's legal counsel to mention the matter before the apex court's Registrar for a date of listing.
Moitra's counsel had pushed for an urgent hearing in the matter, asking for the plea to be heard either during the day today or on December 16. The plea reportedly challenges the validity of the Citizenship Act.
In fact, on Friday, Jan Adhikar Party General Secretary Faiz Ahmed also filed a petition against the Act claiming it "violates the basic structure of the Constitution" as it is discriminatory. Another joint petition was filed by lawyer Ehtesham Hashmi, journalist Ziya Us Salam and law students Muneeb Ahmad Khan, Appurva Jain and Adeel Talib, claiming the Act discriminates against Muslims, Live Law reported.
Separately, NGOs Rihai Manch and Citizens Against Hate also filed a joint petition challenging the Act for "introducing a religion test in India's citizenship law." According to ANI, the petition states that the law is "manifestly arbitrary, constitutionally immoral, both in letter and in spirit."
On Thursday, the Indian Union Muslim League (IUML) had filed the first petition against the Citizenship Act. The petition stated that the law "flagrantly" discriminates against religiously persecuted Muslim immigrants from Afghanistan, Pakistan and Bangladesh, such as the Ahmaddiyya and Shia sect. The petition also questioned why persecuted Tamil community from Sri Lanka and Rohingya Muslims from Myanmar haven't been included in the law.
Reportedly, Kerala Opposition leader Ramesh Chennithala has also decided to file a petition in the Supreme Court against the Citizenship Act. The development comes after Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said on Thursday that his government will not implement the law in the state. "There is no place for such an unconstitutional law in Kerala," he said at a press meet.
The Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2019, received President Ram Nath Kovind's assent at midnight on Thursday to amend the Citizenship Act, 1955. As per the amended legislation, illegal immigrants from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan will be accorded Indian citizenship provided they belong to Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, Parsi and Christian religions and arrived in India on or before December 31, 2014.