Supreme Court. (File Photo: IANS). Image Source: IANS News

New Delhi, Jan 14 : The Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) is a colourable legislation, the Kerala government said in a petition filed in the Supreme Court challenging the amended law.

Kerala has now become the first state to move the top court in the backdrop of nationwide protests against the religion-based CAA.

The court is already seized of the matter with more than 60 petitions challenging the law. A hearing on the matter is scheduled on January 22.

"...in as much as there is a constitutional prohibition to make the said legislation in violation of the secular nature of the Constitution; but despite the same, the Legislature has enacted it. The same is the case with the Impugned Passport Rules and the Impugned Foreign Order Amendments," said the petition.

The Left-led Kerala government in the petition termed the new law violative of several Articles in the Constitution, which include the Right to Equality, and cited that this law is against the basic principles of secularism enshrined in the Constitution.

The state government in its petition said the grouping of three countries of Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh, is not founded on any rational principle justifying separate special treatment for the irrationally chosen class of religious minorities facing persecution on the basis of religion there.

The Kerala government urged the apex court to pass a judgement declaring the law to be ultra vires the Constitution and void. The state government has also challenged the validity of changes made in 2015 to the Passport law and the Foreigners (Amendment) Order.

The state government said the CAA violates the Constitutional provisions and strikes at the root of India's secular and democratic principles.

These apart, the recent resolution passed by the Kerala Assembly against the CAA was also attached to the petition.

Meanwhile, a plea has also been filed in the SC seeking directions to declare the CAA constitutional and also the Election Commission to identify and take stern action against the political parties spreading false rumours in the country.

The PIL, filed by Mumbai-based Puneet Kaur Dhanda through lawyer Vineet Dhanda, is the first in the apex court supporting the Centre's legislation and sought a direction to declare the CAA as "constitutional" saying that this law should be implemented by the states aggressively. The law provides citizenship to non-Muslim migrants belonging to Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Christian, Jain and Parsi communities who had come into the country from three countries - Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan - on or before December 31, 2014.

On December 18, a bench comprising Chief Justice S.A. Bobde and Justices B.R. Gavai and Surya Kant refused to grant a stay on the implementation of the law and listed the matter for further hearing in January. The court issued notice to the Centre. All the matters will be heard together by the apex court on January 22.

The state government urged the apex court to pass a judgment and decree declaring that the Citizenship Amendment Act, 2019 (Act 47 of 2019) is violative of Articles 14, 21 and 25 of the Constitution as well as violative of the basic structure, principle of secularism enshrined therein.

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