New Delhi: The state of Kerala has filed a suit against the Union government in the Supreme Court, challenging the validity of the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA).
The CAA – which has seen widespread opposition across the country – grants Indian citizenship to non-Muslim minorities from Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh who entered India before 2015 on the grounds of religious persecution.
According to LiveLaw, the suit has been filed under Article 131 of the constitution. Article 131 gives the Supreme Court jurisdiction in disputes between one or more states and the Central government. To argue that the CAA can be challenged under Article 131, the Kerala government has referred to the Supreme Court judgment in State of Jharkhand vs State of Bihar and Another (2015).
The petition, according to NDTV, has said that the controversial law violates Articles 14, 21 and 25 of the constitution. The Kerala government has also challenged the validity of the Passport (Entry to India) Amendment Rules 2015 and the Foreigners (Amendment) Order. The two laws regularised non-Muslim undocumented migrants from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan who had entered India before 2015.
The CAA and the other rules being challenged, Kerala has said, “are manifestly arbitrary, unreasonable, irrational and violative of fundamental rights under Articles 14, 21 and 25”.
Multiple petitions have already been filed in the Supreme Court against the CAA, and the Kerala petition makes similar arguments, LiveLaw reports. The law discriminates on the basis of religion, the state has said, and the categorisation is not based on any “intelligible differentia”.
By linking citizenship to religion, the Kerala government has said, the law violates the secular nature of the Indian constitution.
Both major political players in Kerala – the CPI(M)-led Left Democratic Front and Congress-led United Democratic Front – have been vocal critics of the CAA from the very start. At the end of December, the Kerala assembly passed a resolution to scrap the CAA. Chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan has also written to the chief ministers of 11 other states asking them to unite against the law.
On January 9, the Supreme Court had said that it would take up the petitions against the CAA once the “violence stops”.
The CAA came into effect on January 10 through a home ministry notification.