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Centre rebuts challenge to CAA, says NRC necessary for every country

The Centre filed an affidavit in the Supreme Court against petitions which have challenged the constitutional validity of Citizenship (Amendment) Act or CAA.

Updated: Mar 17, 2020, 15:59 IST

By HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times New Delhi

A number of petitioners have moved Supreme Court questioning the constitutional validity of CAA. (Burhaan Kinu/HT Photo)

The Centre on Tuesday disputed all the challenges against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act or CAA and presented a point-by-point rebuttal to the criticism in an affidavit filed before the Supreme Court.

In the 129-page preliminary affidavit, the Centre told the Supreme Court that the CAA does not violate any fundamental right and therefore, the question of violation of constitutional morality does not arise. The Centre also submitted that CAA does not result in expulsion or deportation of any person who may be classified as illegal migrant, “as claimed by the petitioners who have moved Supreme Court against CAA”.

It also said that CAA does not confer any arbitrary and unguided powers on the executive as the citizenship to the persecuted minorities of Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh would be granted in a manner as specified under the law governing grant of citizenship.

The amended law seeks to grant citizenship to non-Muslim migrants from the three neighbouring countries who came to India on or before December 31, 2014.

The Centre insisted that unlike the particular neighbouring countries, “India is a constitutionally secular country and further has a large population of persons belonging to the classified communities already residing as Indian citizens”.

It said that totality of factors, “makes it amply clear that India represents the sole rational and logically feasible place to seek shelter for the said communities.”

The Centre also said that National Register of Citizens (NRC) is a necessary exercise for any sovereign country “for identification of citizens from non-citizens” and added that provisions regarding the NRC have been part of said 1955 Act since December, 2004.

The affidavit was filed in response to the petitions challenging the constitutional validity of CAA.

The Supreme Court on December 18 last year had decided to examine the constitutional validity of the CAA but had refused to stay its operation.


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