Indian Union Muslim League moves Supreme Court seeking stay on Citizenship Amendment Rules 2024

The Indian Union Muslim League (IUML) and Democratic Youth Federation of India (DYFI) moved the Supreme Court seeking stay of the Citizenship Amendment Rules 2024. This comes a day after the Centre notified the rules to implement the controversial Citizenship Amendment Act 2019. Notably, IUML is the lead petitioner in the batch of writ petitions pending in the top court challenging the CAA.

The IUML filed an interlocutory application in the pending writ petition seeking an immediate stay of the implementation of the CAA. It further argued that the normal rule of presumption of constitutionality of a statute will not operate when the legislation is manifestly arbitrary. It also mentioned that since the Act has linked citizenship to religion and has introduced a classification solely on the basis of religion, it is prima facie unconstitutional and ought to be stayed by the Supreme Court.

Additionally, the plea also stated that since the CAA was not implemented for 4.5 years, no prejudice will be caused if its implementation is deferred till the final decision of the apex court. Contrary, if persons who got citizenship under the CAA are to be ultimately stripped of their citizenship in the eventuality of the Court finding the law to be unconstitutional, it will create an anomalous situation.

The IUML clarified that it is not against the grant of citizenship to migrants but that the only objection is to the religion-based exclusion. It said that since the CAA discriminates on the basis of religion, it strikes at the root of the concept of secularism, which is the basic structure of the Constitution. It opined that one way of looking at implementation of the act would be to make it religion neutral and give citizenship to all migrants irrespective of their religious status.

The IUML in its plea also sought an order directing the Centre that, in the meanwhile, pending adjudication of the Writ Petition, members of any religion or denomination, who have been excluded on account of religion, from the purview of the CAA, may not be subjected to any coercive action under the Citizenship Act, 1955, Passport Act, 1920, Foreigners Act, 1946.

Furthermore, it also sought an order not to take coercive action against persons belonging to the Muslim community who have been deprived of the benefit to apply for citizenship under the Rules pending adjudication of the Writ Petition or direct the Centre to provisionally permit persons belonging to Muslim community also to apply for citizenship and submit a report on their entitlement.

Notably, the writ petitions were last listed before the Supreme Court on October 31, 2022.

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