NEW DELHI: Kerala government challenged the controversial Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA) before the Supreme Court, the first state to challenge the legislation in court.
Kerala government is doing so amidst massive protests and debates across India against CAA, due to the fact that the law is religion-based.
As many as 60 petitions have been filed against the CAA in the Supreme Court.
The Left government in Kerala called the Citizenship (Amendment) Act “unconstitutional” as it violates several articles of the constitution, including the right to equality.
Citizenship (Amendment) Act gives illegal immigrants from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan who are Hindus, Christians, Jains, Buddhists, Sikhs and Parsis. Kerala argued that the law goes against the basic principles of secularism because it highlights the religion of the immigrants.
At the same time, there were changes made in 2015 to the Passport law and the Foreigners (Amendment) Order, regularising the stay of non-Muslim migrants from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan who came to India before 2015. Kerala challenged this in the apex court as well.
However, when CAA is clubbed with the National Register of Citizens (NRC), it will discriminate illegal Muslim immigrants from the three Muslim majority countries. Muslim immigrants will be detained or deported.
According to the case by the Kerala government, CAA violates Articles 14, 21 and 25 of the Indian constitution.
Article 14 deals with the right to equality for all citizens irrespective of religion, gender or caste. Under Article 21 of the Indian constitution, "no person will be deprived of life or personal liberty”, which is based on concerns regarding how CAA will affect Muslims who cannot prove their citizenship.
All Indians are entitled to the freedom of conscience, according to Article 25.
The Supreme Court will hear the writ petitions on January 22nd. CAA came into force on January 10th after the government released a Gazette announcing the same. Opposition parties including Congress opposed the CAA and NRC.
Kerala is one of the states, along with West Bengal, which challenged the law, saying that they won't implement it in the state.