Supreme Court seeks Centre’s response on immigrants

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  1. The Supreme Court has sought a response from the Centre on a plea which has challenged the amendments made through the Passport (entry into India) Amendment Rules, 2015; the Foreigners (Amendment) Order, 2015 and the order issued by the Ministry of Home Affairs on December 26, 2016 under the Citizenship Act.
  2. These subordinate laws provide for the naturalisation of illegal immigrants who are Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christians fleeing religious persecution from Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan.
  3. The petitioners have urged the Supreme Court to declare these amendments “illegal and invalid” They have argued that these subordinate laws would result in uncontrolled influx of migrants in Assam and would lead to further demographic changes. Further, they have argued that qualification of citizenship on the basis of religion goes against Secularism- one of the basic tenets of Indian constitution.
  4. The Supreme Court had previously decided to hold the case until Parliament decides upon the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill. The Citizenship (Amendment) Bill amends the Citizenship Act, 1955. The bill seeks to make illegal migrants who are Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christians from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan, eligible for Indian citizenship. The Bill also seeks to reduce the requirement of 11 years of continuous stay in the country to six years to obtain citizenship by naturalisation.
  5. The bill was passed in the Lok Sabha in January 2019.  However, the bill lapsed as it could not be passed in the Rajya Sabha.