A plea has been filed in Supreme Court challenging the Ministry of Home Affair Notification which invites non Muslim belonging to Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan residing in 13 districts of Gujarat, Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh, Haryana and Punjab to apply for Indian citizenship.
“Notification denies the right to apply for citizenship to a particular class of people who are 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 like rickshaw pullers, house-maids, tribals, elderly, uneducated and their descendants as citizens of India due to their inability to prove their Indian citizenship with documentary evidence.”, the plea states.
It has been argued that Notification dated May 28, 2021 (“Impugned Notification”) is in contravention to Section 5 and Section 6 of the Citizenship Act, 1955.
Preferred by Anis Ahmed, General Secretary of Popular Front of India and filed through Advocate A. Selvin Raja, the plea states that the union government did not frame the CAA Rules despite the fact that the CAA came into existence in December 2019 itself. “The Ministry of Home Affairs carefully attempted to achieve the object of CAA, 2019 indirectly and implement the same by mere issuance of an executive order.”, the plea further states.
The petitioner averring that the entire exercise undertaken by the Union Government have is utterly illegal since the Centre on one hand delayed the process of framing rules and on the other arbitrarily issued the impugned order and attempted to implement the CAA 2019 in the guise of Citizenship Rules framed in the year 2009, which cannot be made applicable qua the impugned order because 2009 Rules do not classify ‘any person’ into persecuted six minorities belongs to 3 countries neither it excludes the applicability to Muslims.
It is further averred that the order utterly discriminates and deprives a class of persons namely, the Muslims and it does not withstand the test of Article 14 inasmuch as it treats people within a particular class i.e persons entitled to apply for citizenship by registration and naturalisation unequally by virtue of their religion.
“The effect of this order excludes Muslims alone, which is a minority community in India and extends the grant of Citizenship to others by virtue of their religion. And the impugned order inter alia, divides the people, who are likely to be found as “illegal migrants” into two classes i.e Muslims and non-Muslims on the basis of their religion. While Muslims, who fail to prove their Indian citizenship with documentary evidence, are sought to be proceeded against under the Foreigners Act 1946 and denied or deprived of Indian citizenship, the similarly situated non-Muslims are not only protected from all such proceedings under the Foreigners Act but also given citizenship.”, the plea also states.
Along with declaring the Impugned Notification as unconstitutional, discriminatory and ultra vires Article 14 of the Constitution of India inasmuch as it deprives the Muslims to seek for citizenship by registration and naturalisation unequally by virtue of their religion under sections 5 and 6 of the Citizenship Act,1955, the plea also seeks for reading down the same. Relief has also been sought to prohibit the ‘colourable exercise of power’ by the Union of India in the guise of section 16 of the Citizenship Act,1955.