NEW DELHI :
Kerala on Tuesday became the first state to move the Supreme Court challenging the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2019, which was notified on 10 January.
The plea, filed under Article 131 of the Constitution on disputes between the Centre and states, said the Act violates the right to equality under Article 14 of the Constitution of India, right to life under Article 21, and freedom to practise religion under Article 25.
The petition was filed by advocate G. Prakash, the standing counsel for the Kerala government.
The move comes amid nationwide protests against the contentious legislation and a day after a meeting of Opposition parties was convened by Congress president Sonia Gandhi to discuss the Act. It also comes against the backdrop of the Kerala legislative assembly on 31 December passing a resolution demanding that the Citizenship (Amendment) Act be scrapped.
The Kerala government in its petition has also sought directions to declare the Passport (Entry to India) Amendment Rules, 2015, and Foreigners (Amendment) Order, 2015, to be “ultra vires the Constitution of India and to be void".
The petitioner has claimed that the amendments to the passport rules and the foreign order results in classifications based on religion and that the classification is “apparently and manifestly discriminatory, arbitrary, unreasonable and having no rational nexus with the object sought to be achieved".
The petitioner has sought directions from the Supreme Court for the Act and rules to be declared violative of the Constitution and basic structure of secularism in India.
The Supreme Court on 10 January issued notices to all petitioners who have moved different high courts challenging the constitutional validity of the CAA, seeking their views on the Centre’s plea to transfer their petitions to the top court.
On 22 January, the court will commence hearing of all the petitions challenging CAA.