Assam Leader of Opposition Debabrata Saikia Challenges CAA Rules In Supreme Court

Saikia emphasized that these Rules contravene Article 14 of the Constitution, which guarantees equality to all individuals, irrespective of citizenship status.
Assam Leader of Opposition Debabrata Saikia Challenges CAA Rules In Supreme Court
Assam Leader of Opposition Debabrata Saikia Challenges CAA Rules In Supreme Court

Leader of Opposition in the Assam Legislative Assembly, Debabrata Saikia, has taken legal action by filing an Interlocutory Application (IA) before the Supreme Court. His challenge is directed towards the Rules established for implementing the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) as published by the Ministry of Home Affairs. In addition to contesting the Rules, Saikia also challenges the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2019. 

Regarding the Rules, Saikia highlighted that both the Rules and their parent Act introduce a classification based on religion and country, which, according to him, fails to meet the "manifest arbitrariness" test outlined in the Shayara Bano V Union of India (2017) 9 SCO 1 case. Saikia argued that this classification is unfair, unreasonable, discriminatory, lacking transparency, and prone to favoritism or nepotism, thereby not aligning with the principles of healthy competition and equitable treatment. Consequently, he posited that the usual presumption of constitutionality cannot be applied in this instance. 

Furthermore, Saikia emphasized that these Rules contravene Article 14 of the Constitution, which guarantees equality to all individuals, irrespective of citizenship status.

"The Rules violate Article 14 of the Constitution, which guarantees equality to all persons: citizens and foreigners. Differentiating between the people along religious lines, especially when it comes to citizenship issues, would be in violation of the Constitution," he stated.

Moreover, Saikia asserted that the Rules for the Citizenship Amendment Act also infringe upon Clause 6 of the Assam Accord. He argued that by granting citizenship to non-Muslim illegal migrants who arrived in India from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, and Pakistan before December 31, 2014, the Act directly contradicts the terms of the Assam Accord of 1985. He expressed concern that such measures could jeopardize the delicate ethnicity and socio-economic fabric of the State of Assam.

In his IA, Saikia sought a stay on the implementation of the Rules, citing the Act's enactment in 2019 without implementation for over four and a half years. He argued that deferring implementation until the final decision of the court in the present Writ Petition would not cause prejudice.

On Monday evening, the Union Home Ministry announced the rules for implementing the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), shortly before the announcement of the Lok Sabha elections schedule. The Act aims to offer Indian citizenship to persecuted non-Muslim migrants, including Hindus, Sikhs, Jains, Buddhists, Parsis, and Christians, who migrated from Bangladesh, Pakistan, and Afghanistan and arrived in India before December 31, 2014.

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