NEW DELHI: The first challenge to the recently passed Citizenship Amendment Bill, 2019 has been mounted in the Supreme Court by four members of Parliament belonging to the Indian Union of Muslim League (IUML).
The case is likely to be mentioned before the chief justice for urgent hearing as soon as President Ram Math Kovind gives his assent to the Bill. The bill, which seeks to provide Indian citizenship to non-Muslim refugees from Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh who faced religious persecution there, has been panned by the Opposition for being discriminatory.
The bill was passed with 125 votes in favour and 105 against it in the Rajya Sabha as besides BJP and its allies such as the Janata Dal (United) and Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD), the legislation was supported by the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK), Biju Janata Dal (BJD), Telugu Desam Party (TDP) and the YSR Congress.
The petition has claimed that the Indian Constitution does not allow classification on the basis of religion, and thus the Bill violates Article 14 of the Constitution. It said the Bill also violates the basic principles of secularism as laid out in the Constitution and, therefore, sought direction from the apex court for striking down the Bill.
The passage of the Bill has led to widespread protests in the northeast, especially in Assam which erupted in violent protests. Three flights and 21 train services were cancelled keeping in mind the volatile situation in Assam, according to media reports. Army was deployed in Tripura and reinforcements put on standby in neighbouring Assam (with inputs from agencies).
Image Credit: Since Independence