In it plea, Kerala government said that the Citizenship Act is in violation of Articles 14, 21 and 25 of the Constitution of India as well as against the basic principle of secularism. (Photo Credit: File Photo)
Kerala became first Indian state to challenge the controversial Citizenship Amendment Act in the Supreme Court. The Pinarayi Vijayan-led state government has filed a petition in the top court stating that the citizenship law is ‘unconstitutional’. In it plea, Kerala government said that the Citizenship Act is in violation of Articles 14, 21 and 25 of the Constitution of India as well as against the basic principle of secularism. The petition was filed under Article 131. On January 1st, Kerala Assembly had passed a resolution demanding that the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) to be scrapped. The resolution passed by the Kerala Assembly was first such step taken by any state government. At that time, the Kerala Chief Minister had said that the Citizenship new law was “part of a larger agenda… against the Muslim community”.
On January 3, Vijayan had also written to his counterparts in 11 states on the need to save secularism and democracy. In a letter to the chief ministers, including Mamata Banerjee and Arvind Kejriwal, Vijayan said, "Apprehensions have arisen among large sections of our society consequent to the Citizenship Amendment Act, 2019. The need of the hour is unity among all Indians who wish to protect and preserve our cherished values of democracy and secularism, he said in the letter.
Earlier on January 9, Chief Justice of India Sharad Arvind Bobde had said that , “the country is going through difficult times.” The critical observation was made by the Chief Justice of India as the top court heard a plea that demanded actions against those spreading 'falsehood and misinformation' about the amendments. Regretting the violence during the CAA protests, the Chief Justice of India said that, “will hear petitions on CAA only when violence stops and endeavours are made to restore peace.”
Last year in the month of December, the Supreme Court had issued notice to the Narendra Modi government on bunch of petitions challenging the validity of the contentious Citizenship Amendment Act. A Bench of Chief Justice SA Bobde, Justice BR Gavai and Justice Surya Kant refused to stay the implementation of the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2019.
As many as 59 petitions were filed in the apex court challenging the legal validity of the Act. Almost all pleas have called the Citizenship Act unconstitutional. The order comes amid the intense anti-Citizenship Act protests that have swept the nation. The top court has fixed for hearing on January 22 pleas filed by the IUML, Congress leader Jairam Ramesh, others against CAA.
On December 11, the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill 2019 was cleared by the Rajya Sabha after a marathon debate. As many as 125 MPs voted in favour of the Bill in the Upper House and 99 against it.