NEW DELHI: The Centre on Tuesday filed a preliminary counter affidavit in the Supreme Court in response to writ petitions challenging the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA).
The government, in its 129-page affidavit, said the CAA does not violate legal, democratic or secular rights of any Indian citizen or the constitutional morality.
The affidavit was filed by BC Joshi, a director in the Union home ministry.
The CAA seeks to fast-track the grant of Indian citizenship for persecuted minorities from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan. It, however, does not address the grant of citizenship to persecuted Muslims from these countries.
Critics have said the Act, along with the government's plans to create a National Register of Citizens (NRC) to weed out illegal immigrants could strip Muslims of the country of their citizenship.
There have been widespread protests against the Act across the country.
The Centre, in the affidavit, has claimed that the systematic functioning of the specific countries and the theocratic constitutional position in those countries over the last seven decades were taken into account by the Indian Parliament before it passed the CAA.
The Act seeks to tackle a specific problem prevalent in specific countries on the grounds of religion, the affidavit added.
It also said issues concerning the grant of citizenship is the prerogative of the legislature and are based on the government's foreign policy and therefore cannot be subject to judicial review.
Addressing concerns about the NRC in the petitions filed, the Centre said the preparation of NRC was a necessary exercise for any sovereign country for identifying citizens and non-citizens.
The Supreme Court in December had decided to examine the constitutional validity of the CAA but had refused to stay its implementation.
About 140 petitions challenging the CAA have been filed in the apex court. Various entities, including law students, Muslim groups, lawyers, politicians and political parties, have challenged the Act.