NEW DELHI June 1 : The Indian Union Muslim League (IUML) has moved the Supreme Court seeking a stay on the May 28 order of Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) which empowered certain districts to grant citizenship to non-Muslim refugees from Afghanistan, Pakistan and Bangladesh.
The application filed by IUML said during the pendency Citizenship Amendment Act, 2019 (CAA) the MHA has gone ahead and issued an order dated May 28, whereby the Centre, relying on Section 16 of the Citizenship Act 1955 (henceforth referred to as the Act), the power to grant citizenship under Sections 5(citizenship by registration) and 6(citizenship by naturalisation) have been delegated to collectors of certain districts to grant citizenship to persons.
The plea claimed the Centre has illegally permitted the collectors of the chosen districts to grant citizenship to persons belonging to Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christians.
The application cited Section 5 (1)(a)-(g) of the Act lays down in unequivocal terms the persons who are eligible to apply for citizenship by registration, Section 6 of the Act permits any person (not being an illegal migrant ) to apply for citizenship by naturalisation. The petitioner claimed the attempt being made by the Centre in whittling down the applicability of the two provisions through an executive order is illegal.
"That the two provisions read together do not permit the classification of applicants on the ground of religion and therefore the order goes beyond what is permitted by the provision itself. Furthermore, the order does not withstand the test of Article 14 inasmuch as it treats people within a particular class i.e. persons entitled to apply for citizenship by registration and naturalisation unequally by virtue of their religion", said the application.
The petitioner claimed that Centre during CAA hearing in the top court had provided assurance that staying of the amendment Act was not necessary since the rules of it, had not been framed. "However, the Respondent Union, in a roundabout way, and in an attempt to circumvent the assurance given to this court, have sought to implement their mala fide designs envisaged under the Amendment Act through the recently issued order dated May 28", added the application.
The petitioner sought stay on any further proceedings pursuant to the May 28 order issued by the Union of India, Ministry of Home Affairs till such time the CAA matter is pending.