Popular Front of India National Secretary Anis Ahmed filed a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) in the Supreme Court of India Challenging the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2019 ( CAA).
The petition challenges not only the CAA but also the amendments made to related legislations, rules and orders. The petitioner pointed out that religion has never been a criterion for citizenship. However, as a result of the CAA, only Muslims run the risk of losing the citizenship on account of their religion.
“The impugned legislation sets the criterion of religion for the purposes of granting or denying citizenship. That is not conducive to the constitutional ideals, such as justice, equality, liberty and fraternity, unity and integrity of the country.”
According to the petitioner the CAA is wholly destructive, divisive and dangerous to the harmonious living of the citizens of India. More significantly, the idea of granting or denying citizenship on the ground of religion is an idea, which had been discussed and rejected by the founding fathers of the Constitution in the Constituent Assembly itself. Depriving personal liberty and equal rights to life looking at one’s religion is totally unfair, unjust and unreasonable and it is something unheard of in any civilized and progressive society.
The PIL also states that “The CAA based on religion are contradictory to a number of international Declarations and Covenants adopted by the United Nations, for example, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the Declaration on the Rights of Persons Belonging to National or Ethnic, Religious and Linguistic Minorities, the Declaration on the Elimination of All Forms of Intolerance and of Discrimination Based on Religion or Belief, etc. “
“The Articles 2, 3, 7, 15 and 18 of UDHR to which India is a party, mandates that there shall not be any discrimination on the ground of religion.”
The PIL argues that “Unfortunately, the impugned legislations are wholly unjust, arbitrary, discriminatory, and unconstitutional and against the international Declarations/Covenants adopted by the United Nations Organization, wherein India is a member.”
The petitioner believes that the impugned legislations would affect so badly and dangerously, in the extreme sense of those words, the very existence and life of a large section of down-trodden and marginalized poor persons, including the fellow citizens of India, who were born, brought up and have been living in India only for generations, particularly those from the lowest rungs in the society.
The PIL sought to declare Rule 4(1)(ha) of the Passport (Entry into India) Rules 1950, para 3A of the Foreigners Order, 1948 and the Citizenship (Amendment) Act 2019 as unconstitutional and to strike down those legislations.
The petition is listed for today (22.01.2020) for hearing along with other petitions.