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SC notice to centre on petition challenging CAA, NPR

The petition filed by West Bengal resident Israrul Haque Mondal has also challenged changes made in the passport and foreigner rules of 2015 and 2016, allowing non-Muslim refugees from Pak, Bangladesh and Afghanistan fleeing religious prosecution to stay on even though they may have entered the country illegally.

, ET Bureau|
Last Updated: Jan 18, 2020, 08.10 AM IST
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NEW DELHI: A Supreme Court bench led by Chief Justice of India SA Bobde on Friday issued notices to the central government on a petition challenging constitutional validity of the Citizenship Amendment Act and the National Population Register.

The petition filed by West Bengal resident Israrul Haque Mondal through advocate MR Shamshad, has also challenged changes made in the passport and foreigner rules of 2015 and 2016, allowing non-Muslim refugees from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan fleeing religious prosecution to stay on even though they may have entered the country illegally.

There are 19 other petitioners who are Muslim residents from West Bengal and are mostly teachers, professors and housewives. They have made secretaries of the Union home, law and external affairs ministries party to the case. The CJI heard the petition sitting alongside Justices BR Gavai and Surya Kant.

The exercise to update NPR is scheduled to get underway throughout the country from April 1 and go on till September 30, as per a notification issued by the home ministry on July 31, 2019.

Among other things Mondal’s petition said the proposed nationwide National Registration of Citizens (NRC) would ensure that all illegal immigrants — except non-Muslim refugees from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan covered under the passport and foreigner rules — were deported from this country to the country of their origin.

The petition pointed out that waves of refugees had come into India and settled down during the Partition in 1947 and again during the border tensions with Pakistan during 1964-65 and 1971. “These refugees may have attained citizenship by way of naturalisation and their children are citizens by birth,” it said. “However, this entire demographic will be in danger of being declared illegal migrants.”

On the other hand, such of these probable illegal migrants, non-Muslim migrants will still have rights to apply for Indian citizenship by simply declaring that they have been persecuted on religious grounds in the country of their origin.

The petition also pointed out that those left out of NRC if declared foreigners by a competent tribunal would be confined to detention centres. It sought to know if these enactments and rules were not arbitrary, and offensive of constitutional morality and international law.

It said the weakest of Indian citizens, irrespective of religious identity, would find it difficult to provide any documents to prove their citizenship due to natural calamities. The petition specifically referred to landless and marginal farmers and tribals, apart from Muslims, who are well below the national average on almost all parameters of development.


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