Kerala moves SC seeking stay on Citizenship Amendment Rules

02:04 PM Mar 17, 2024 | PTI |

Kerala has filed a fresh plea in the Supreme Court seeking a stay on the implementation of the Citizenship (Amendment) Rules, 2024, contending it was discriminatory, arbitrary and contravened the principles of secularism.


The Centre had on March 11 paved the way for the implementation of the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2019, with the notification of the relevant rules, four years after the contentious law was passed by Parliament to fast-track Indian citizenship for undocumented non-Muslim migrants from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan who came to India before December 31, 2014.

Terming the CAA Rules as ‘unconstitutional’, the state government said classifications based on religion and country are discriminatory, arbitrary, unreasonable, and contravened the principles of secularism.

”The fact that the defendant (Union) itself has no urgency in the implementation of the 2019 Act is a sufficient cause for staying the 2024 rules,” the plea said.

The Kerala government, which had earlier filed an original suit against the validity of the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), said the Amendment Act and Rules and Orders are bereft of any standard principle or norm in discriminating migrants from other countries such as Sri Lanka, Myanmar and Bhutan, which are sharing international borders with India and to which and from which there has been trans-border migration.


Contending that the CAA was ”arbitrary”, Kerala said the Rules was a ”class legislation” that fast-tracked procedure for granting Indian citizenship to Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, Parsi or Christian community members who entered India on or before December 31, 2014 from Afghanistan, Bangladesh or Pakistan.

”Classifications based on religion and country are manifestly discriminatory. It is trite and settled law that a legislation discriminating on the basis of an intrinsic and core trait of an individual cannot form a reasonable classification based on an intelligible differentia,” the plea said.

The apex court had on Friday agreed to hear on March 19 the pleas seeking a direction to the Centre to stay the implementation of the Citizenship Amendment Rules, 2024 till the disposal of petitions challenging the constitutional validity of the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2019.

With the unveiling of the rules on March 11, days ahead of the announcement of the Lok Sabha elections, the Modi government kicked off the process of granting Indian citizenship to persecuted non-Muslim migrants — Hindus, Sikhs, Jains, Buddhists, Parsis and Christians — from Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh.

The rules came into force with immediate effect, according to a gazette notification.

The CAA had sparked protests in various parts of the country in late 2019 and early 2020 over alleged discriminatory provisions.

While refusing to stay the operation of the law, the apex court had on December 18, 2019 issued notices to the Centre on the pleas.


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