Amid nationwide protests against the contentious Citizenship law (CAA), the state of Kerala today challenged the CAA before the Supreme Court, becoming the first state to do so after the Pinarayi Vijayan government in its suit sought direction to declare the newly amended legislation unconstitutional.
The plea of the Kerala Government says, “Act violates Article 14, 21 and 25 of the Constitution of India, as well as is against the basic principle of secularism.”
The plea has also challenged the validity of changes made in 2015 to the Passport law and the Foreigners (Amendment) Order, for regularising the stay of non-Muslim migrants from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan who had entered India before 2015.
The apex court is already hearing over 60 petitions against the law.
Earlier, the Kerala Assembly on December 31, 2019, passed a resolution demanding the withdrawal of the Citizenship Amendment Act. Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan had moved a resolution against the CAA in state Assembly, demanding the withdrawal of the contentious act.
While presenting the resolution, Vijayan said the CAA was against the “secular” outlook and fabric of the country and would lead to religion-based discrimination in granting citizenship.
The Kerala Chief Minister also assured the Assembly that no detention centres will come up in the state. CM Vijayan, in his address, stated that Kerala “has a tradition of inclusiveness” and that it needs to be kept alive.
The Citizenship (Amendment) Act seeks to provide citizenship to Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, Parsi and Christian communities who have faced religious persecution in Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Afghanistan and have arrived in India on or before December 31, 2014.
Besides Kerala and Delhi, protests have been witnessed across the country over the contentious law.
Violent protests had been reported earlier from across the nation as locals and students demonstrating against the Act clashed with the police.
Campuses too in India, be it the JNU OR Jamia Milia Islamia, have erupted in anger over the amended law with students from at least 15 universities taking on to the streets.
States of West Bengal, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Delhi, Punjab, Chhattisgarh have announced that they will not implement either the National Register of Citizens (NRC) or the Citizenship Amendment Act.
Meanwhile, the Union Cabinet has approved Rs 8,500 crore for updating the National Population Register (NPR), which is said to be the first step in implementing the National Register of Citizens (NRC).
West Bengal and Kerala are the only two states which have stopped the NPR procedures since they believe it is the first step for the contentious NRC.