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Over a dozen pleas filed in SC against new citizenship Act


New Delhi: More than a dozen petitions were moved in the Supreme Court on Friday challenging the Citizenship (Amendment) Act 2019.

The petitioners include Congress MP Jairam Ramesh, Trinamool Congress MP Mahua Moitra, All Assam Students Union and other petitioners.

President Ram Nath Kovind gave assent to the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2019 on Thursday night, making it into an Act.

The petitioners, which include Peace Party, NGOs 'Rihai Manch' and Citizens Against Hate, advocate M.L. Sharma and law students, have a common issue with the amended Act, which declares members of Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, Parsi and Christian communities who have come from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan till December 31, 2014 and face religious persecution there will not be treated as illegal immigrants but given Indian citizenship.

Moitra's counsel mentioned the plea before the Chief Justice S.A. Bobde and sought urgent hearing, but it was denied. The court asked her counsel to go to the mentioning officer. Her plea said that the Act is a "divisive, exclusionary and discriminatory piece of legislation that is bound to rend the secular fabric irreparably."

Jairam Ramesh claimed the Act promotes rather than checks illegal migration and is inextricably intertwined with the bizarre concept of a national National Register of Citizens, "as it does not even attempt to address the humanitarian and logistical issues of excluding millions and is clueless as to where to house them, where to deport them and how to deal with them."

He contended the Act is manifestly violative of Article 14 and 21 of the Constitution and contrary to the law laid down by the apex court. It also violates the Assam Accord and International Covenants, he said.

The petition by NGOs 'Rihai Manch' and Citizens Against Hate, said the Act violates the fundamental rights, including that of equality before the law, and basic structure of the Constitution. The plea was filed through advocate Fauzia Shakil.

All Assam Students Union (AASU) moved the Court stating due to the continued influx of illegal immigrants in Assam, the Centre has failed to protect the rights of the indigenous people of Assam. AASU claimed the Act violates the obligations of the Centre under the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

A writ petition was also filed by the Indian Union Muslim League (IUML) claiming that the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill (CAB) 2019, passed by the Parliament on Wednesday, violates Article 14 of the Constitution.

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