Kerala on Tuesday challenged the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) in the Supreme Court, becoming the first state to do so as nationwide protest against the controversial law continue.
Kerala’s petition’s requests the court to declare CAA as illegal for violating of the Constitution’s Article 131, which empowers the Supreme Court to hear disputes between government of India and one or more states, Hindustan Times reported.
It says that the CAA violates right to equality under Article 14 of the Constitution of India, right to life under Article 21 and freedom to practise religion under Article 25.
Kerala’s Left Democratic Front government has strongly opposed CAA, passing a resolution against it in the Assembly and criticizing the law in front-page advertisements of at least three national dailies.
Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar, an ally of the BJP, has spoken against CAA, joining Madhya Pradesh’s Kamal Nath, West Bengal’s Mamata Banerjee and Jharkhand’s Hemant Soren in opposing the law.
CAA aims to fast-track citizenship for persecuted Hindus, Parsis, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains and Christians who arrived in India before Dec. 31, 2014, from Muslim-majority Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan.
The passing of the bill on December 11 triggered widespread demonstrations in the Assam, as protesters feared it would convert thousands of illegal migrants from neighbouring Muslim-majority Bangladesh into legal residents.
Elsewhere in India, protesters say the citizenship law will be followed by the national register, which they fear is designed by the BJP-led government to expel Muslims who do not have sufficient citizenship documentation.
The government has refuted those allegations and vowed to protect all citizens equally.