Citizenship Bill Row: SC keeps PIL challenging passport amendment until Parliament decides on Bill

Citizenship Bill Row: SC keeps PIL challenging passport amendment until Parliament decides on Bill

January 14, 2019

The Supreme Court on Monday kept a PIL challenging the Passport (Entry into India) Amendment Rules, 2015, The Foreigners (Amendment) Order, 2015 pending until Parliament decides on the passage of the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill 2019 bill in Rajya Sabha.

The petition challenges the government order exempting "persons belonging to minority communities in Bangladesh and Pakistan, namely, Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christians who were compelled to seek shelter in India due to religious persecution or fear of religious persecution and entered into India on or before the 31 st December, 2014….," from the application provisions of the Foreigners Act, 1946.

The court said the notifications will become infructuous if the citizenship bill is passed by Rajya Sabha, asking the petitioner to raise the issue at an "appropriate time".

If the Bill is not passed by Rajya Sabha, then this petition can be entertained", the Bar and Bench quoted Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi as saying.

The Citizenship Bill was passed in Lok Sabha on January 8 during the winter session of Parliament and introduced in Rajya Sabha amid protests in the north-east. The bill, which has been introduced by the BJP government, has faced protests by student and political organisations and has led to shutdowns in the northeastern states and a political alliance being broken off.

Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) severed its ties with the BJP over the passage of the bill in Lok Sabha and speculations about NPP withdrawing its support from the BJP-led Northeast Democratic Alliance (NEDA) also surfaced. At least three more regional parties, in Tripura, Nagaland and Mizoram, all in the BJP's 11-party North-East Democratic Alliance (NEDA), have called some provisions in the Bill a threat to indigenous communities.

The Bill proposes to grant Indian citizenship to non-muslim minority immigrants from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan who have entered India before December 31, 2014. It was first cleared by a joint parliamentary committee and then tabled in Lok Sabha by Home Minister Rajnath Singh.

Source: The Indian Express

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