CAA may not face judicial review, government tells SC | Latest India News

The legality of the Citizenship (Amendment) Act 2019 (CAA) may fall outside the scope of judicial review since citizenship and foreign policy matters fall squarely within the domain of parliament, the government said on Sunday. the Union to the Supreme Court.

In submitting its affidavit in response to a series of Public Interest Litigation (PIL) cases due to be heard by the Supreme Court on Monday, the government asserted that issues concerning Parliament’s sovereign plenary power, particularly in relation to the citizenship, cannot be questioned. by filing PIL.

According to the affidavit, the power to exclude immigrants is an incident of sovereignty belonging to a duly constituted nation-state and an immigration policy. Politics, he added, impacts a state’s foreign policy and, by extension, affects its security apparatus and would therefore be fully within the domain of parliament.

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“In matters of immigration and citizenship policy in particular, it is the executive policy of the sovereign manifested by competent legislation, which would govern decision-making. It is argued that legislative policies in this regard are deliberately entrusted exclusively to elected representatives (to be carried out according to the procedure of legislation established by law),” the government said.

The clutch of over two hundred related petitions challenged various provisions of the CAA which seek to grant expedited citizenship to non-Muslim refugees who came to India due to religious persecution in Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan at the latest on December 31, 2014. The law was questioned on grounds of religious discrimination against Muslims and arbitrariness.

A bench, headed by India’s Chief Justice Uday Umesh Lalit, will hear the case on Monday. On September 12, the bench requested a new affidavit from the Union government to help formulate the legal questions in the matter.

Defending the legislation, the affidavit filed with the Union Home Office said the scope of PILs and their maintainability, particularly in relation to immigration policy, must be decided as a matter of law by the Supreme Court since the question of law and the granting of citizenship are matters falling within the full domain of the competent legislature.

“The competent legislature develops its own legislative policy with respect to matters relating to citizenship. It is argued that by the very nature of the matter concerning the citizenship of the country and matters relating thereto, said matter may fall outside the scope of judicial review and may not be justiciable,” a he told the court.

“It is respectfully submitted that this honorable court has repeatedly held that in matters concerning foreign policy, citizenship, economic policy, etc., greater latitude of classification is available to parliament/legislature in view of the subjects of the dispute and the nature of the area that the legislator intends to deal with,” he added.

The affidavit was also aimed at allaying fears that the CAA would encourage the influx of illegal migrants, pointing out that migrants who are entitled to citizenship under the law already live in various parts of India.

The MHA stressed that the presence of inhabitants of the classified communities – Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christians – of the three neighboring countries does not constitute “external aggression” or “internal disturbance” and, therefore, does not not violate Article 355 of the Constitution. Section 355 obligates the Center to protect each state against external aggression and internal disturbances and to ensure that the government of each state is exercised in accordance with the provisions of the Constitution.

“The future granting of citizenship rights to persons from these prosecuted minority communities will not impair the political rights of the current citizens of India…The CAA does not impinge on any existing rights that may have existed prior to the enactment of the ‘Amendment and further, does not in any way seek to affect the legal, democratic or secular rights of any of the citizens of India,’ the affidavit stressed.

The Center further informed the court that it had shared with the government of Bangladesh a draft agreement on “the verification of nationality and the return of Indian and Bangladeshi nationals”.

“The agreement once finalized and signed with the government of Bangladesh will streamline the process of verifying nationality and should facilitate the return of illegal migrants from each other’s territory,” he added.

The affidavit also responded to a category of petitions which complained that granting citizenship to migrants from Bangladesh would alter the demographic and cultural identity of Assam and other northeastern states.

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“There is no provision in the CAA which would affect the distinct language, script or culture of the citizens of Assam and other northeastern states…The CAA only makes eligible a class of foreigners who had taken refuge in India on or before December 31, 2014 due to the persecution they face in three specified countries on account of their religion.CAA does not encourage any future influx of foreigners to India as it applies to past events and has no application in the future,” he said.

The Center also pointed out that the CAA only protects against deportation those migrants who are already protected under the Assam Agreement under the Immigrants (Deportation from Assam) Act 1950, due to civil unrest or fear of such unrest in any area then part of Pakistan (now including Bangladesh).

Petitioners challenging the validity of the law include Congress leader Jairam Ramesh, the Indian Union Muslim League and its MPs, Lok Sabha MP and AIMIM chairman Asaduddin Owaisi, RJD leader Manoj Jha, MP for TMC Mahua Moitra, Assam and Tripura Students Union. royal descendant Pradyot Kishore Deb Barman.


    Utkarsh Anand is legal editor at the Hindustan Times. He writes on law, justice and governance.
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