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CAA brought to safeguard rights of minorities from Pak, Afghanistan & B'desh, says fresh plea

CAA brought to safeguard rights of minorities from Pak, Afghanistan & Bdesh, says fresh plea

New Delhi: The 2019 Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA) and the subsequent rules have been brought to safeguard the right to life, liberty and dignity of persecuted non-Muslim minorities from Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh, said a fresh plea filed in the Supreme Court.

While refusing to stay the operation of the Rules that would give effect to the CAA, a bench headed by Chief Justice D Y Chandrachud had on March 19 asked the Centre to respond to the applications seeking a stay on the implementation of the Citizenship (Amendment) Rules, 2024 till the apex court disposes of the pleas challenging the constitutional validity of the CAA.

Meanwhile, lawyer Ashwini Upadhyay has moved the top court with an application for making himself a party to the ongoing litigations on the CAA and its rules.

The fresh plea, filed through lawyer Ashwani Dubey, seeks dismissal of the pending PILs of various petitioners including the Indian Union Muslim League (IUML) on various grounds.

"Applicant respectfully submits that the writ petitions (of IUML and others) challenging constitutional validity of the Citizenship Amendment Act 2019 are politically motivated and none of their fundamental rights are being violated by the Act. Hence, PILs are not maintainable under Article 32 and may be dismissed to save the precious time of the Court," Upadhyay said in his plea.

"Ever since the CAA came into effect, protesters have sought to intimidate the country by burning trains and buses, pelting stones and attacking police. The propaganda machine on social media has been coordinating to create an image of a nation in flames," it said.

It claimed the truth was, however, totally different.

The anger is "just because a tiny bit of justice was given to minorities of Afghanistan, Pakistan and Bangladesh. This can only be called ‘protests of entitlement’ and definitely not guaranteed under Article 19 (freedom of speech and expression) of the Constitution," it said.

It asserted there was "no religious discrimination" in the law which only makes sure that the commitment made to the persecuted non-Muslim minorities during partition is fulfilled.

"Article 2 of the Constitution of Afghanistan states that Islam is the religion of the country. There are similar provisions in Constitutions of Pakistan and Bangladesh as well..," it said.

It said the CAA is not taking away any rights of Indian Muslims, contrary to the propaganda being peddled.

"Ground of religious persecution of Muslims is out of question, because all three countries have Muslims as Majority. The Act will only bring justice to the people who have been waiting for it for 70 years. It is not targeting anyone and will do no injustice," it said.

India can’t open its boundaries for everyone and it is the duty of the government to protect its border, stop intruders, and distinguish between refugees and intruders, it said.

The apex court is scheduled to hear the pleas against the CAA and the related rules on April 9.

The Centre had on March 11 paved the way for the implementation of the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2019, with the notification of the relevant rules, four years after the contentious law was passed by Parliament to fast-track Indian citizenship for undocumented non-Muslim migrants from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan who came to India before December 31, 2014.

With the unveiling of the rules on March 11, days ahead of the announcement of the Lok Sabha elections, the Modi government kicked off the process of granting Indian citizenship to persecuted non-Muslim migrants -- Hindus, Sikhs, Jains, Buddhists, Parsis and Christians -- from the three countries.

The rules came into force with immediate effect, according to a gazette notification.

The hugely contentious law had sparked protests in various parts of the country in the late 2019 and early 2020 over alleged discriminatory provisions.

While refusing to stay the operation of the law, the apex court had on December 18, 2019 issued notices to the Centre on the pleas challenging the validity of the CAA.

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