Assam Congress leaders move Supreme Court seeking stay on Citizenship Amendment Rules 2024

Congress MP Debabrata Saika and Abdul Khaleque have filed an interim application in the Supreme Court seeking a stay on the implementation of the Citizenship Amendment Rules 2024 notified on March 11. The application submitted that the rules are unconstitutional and violate the Assam Accord.

The interim application is filed in their writ petition lodged in 2019 challenging the Citizenship Amendment Act 2019, stressing on issues specific to Assam and raising concerns about the violation of constitutional principles like equality, secularism, and non-discrimination. The previous petition is currently pending adjudication.

The interim application underlined that the impugned Act and Rules lack a determining principle, rendering them manifestly arbitrary. The applicants submitted that the law is ultra vires for the selective classification based on religion, asserting that Sri Lankan Eelam Tamils should also be included, considering their persecution based on both religion Hinduism and ethnicity.

The application also pointed out Clause 5.8 of the Assam Accord, which mandates the detection, deletion, and expulsion of foreigners who entered Assam after March 25, 1971. Notably, granting citizenship to non-Muslim illegal migrants contradicts this accord and threatens the cultural and socio-economic fabric of Assam.

The application further asserted that the Act and Rules create a discriminatory impact by providing protection to certain religious groups while subjecting Muslims to Foreigner Tribunal proceedings. 

It added that the impugned Act and the Rules by design and default ascertain that the people excluded from the NRC list, who are belonging to the religion of Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Christians would be able to seek protection under the impugned Act. Nonetheless, the people excluded from the NRC list belonging to Muslim religion would face proceedings of the Foreigner Tribunal.

Hence, the impugned Act and the Rules ensure that the proceeding before the Foreigner Tribunal and detention would be directly targeted against the Muslims alone, it contended. Additionally, the application also expressed apprehension about the implementation of the Act and Rules leading to a curtailment of the fundamental right to freedom of speech. It also mentioned a notice served on the morning of March 12 to 16 opposition leaders, including Saika and Khaleque, warning them to withdraw their call for a strike against the Rules or face legal action. 

The application was filed through Advocate-on-Record Pyoli.

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