Amid the ongoing nationwide protests against the contentious Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), the Pinarayi Vijayan-led Kerala government moved the Supreme Court against the amended act on Tuesday morning.
The government said the CAA is violative of Articles 14, 21 and 25 of the Constitution of India and is against the basic principle of secularism.
The plaint by the Kerala government states, “The religious classification brought forth violates the twin test of classification under Article 14, the protection of which is not limited or restricted to Citizens alone and extends to all persons.”
“There is no rationale in not extending the rights conferred to a class of minorities from Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh to religious minorities belonging to the said countries of Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Nepal and Bhutan,” the plaint reads.
Earlier, Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan at a rally on January 13 said that 'the state government will not allow CAA to be implemented in Kerala.'
According to Live Law, the Kerala government has filed the suit under Article 131 of the Indian Constitution.
This is the first time a state has approached the apex court against the CAA.
In what is being seen as a fight between the Left government and the Centre, CM Vijayan has been vocal about the 'unconstitutional' Citizenship Act and has been insistent that 'the need of the hour is a united fight' against the CAA.
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Kerala Law Minister AK Balan said, "The state government filed a suit in the apex court against the Citizenship Amendment Act going by public conscience and urged the Congress-ruled states to do the same."
On January 3, Vijayan reached out to chief ministers in 11 states ruled by parties other than the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and asked them to take measures against the Citizenship Amendment Act.
Industries Minister EP Jayarajan said, "The act is meant to take the country to fascism. By implementing it the government is trying to implement the agenda of RSS. It will be strongly opposed by those who believe in democracy."
He wrote a letter that the need of the hour was unity among all Indians “who wish to protect and preserve our cherished values of democracy and secularism”.
The move comes a day after a meeting of opposition parties was convened by Congress president Sonia Gandhi to discuss the Citizenship Amendment Act.
The Kerala Legislature had also passed a resolution requesting the Central Government to repeal the Citizenship Act on December 31 2019.
The CAA seeks to provide citizenship to 'persecuted minorities' from Buddhist, Hindu, Sikhs, Jain, Parsi and Christian faiths, who have come to India from the neighbouring countries of Afghanistan, Pakistan and Bangladesh, on or before December 31, 2014.
Over 60 writ petitions have been filed in Supreme Court so far against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act. Various political parties, NGOs and MPs have challenged the law.
The Supreme Court will hear the petitions on January 22.
(Inputs from ENS, ANI)