On Friday, the Congress leader in Assam Debabrata Saikia, along with two others, filed a petition in the Supreme court challenging the constitutionality of the Citizenship Amendment Act, 2019.
The petition objects that the said Act is an attack on secularism and referred to the SC’s judgment in the case of SR Bommai, which held that granting of Citizenship can be done “either by birth or domicile and not as a member of a religion, caste, sect, region or language”. Hence, the petition affirmed that through this amendment, the government has violated the basic provision of the constitution, i.e., Article 14, by excluding Muslim migrants from the preview of the act.
The Citizenship Amendment Bill, 2019 passed by the Lok Sabha on 9 December became an Act after receiving Presidential assent on 12 December.
Ever since the bill was passed by the Lok Sabha, Assam has been witnessing intense protests resulting in curfew, the blockade in rail/air connectivity in many regions of Assam and Tripura. Eight columns of the Army and Assam Rifles have been expanded in various areas of Assam, including the state’s capital Guwahati after three protesters were killed while many others were injured in the police firing on 12 December.
“The Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2019 violates Article 14 of the Constitution, which guarantees equality to all persons, citizens, and foreigners. Differentiating between the people along religious lines, especially when it comes to citizenship issues, would violate the Constitution. The amendment is based on the false premise that only minorities face religious persecution in a Muslim-majority country. The amendment makes an easy – but untrue – classification between minority and majority religion,” the petition noted.