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Indian Union Muslim League moves Supreme Court against Citizenship Amendment Bill, seeks to declare it ‘illegal and void’

FE Online
Citizenship Amendment Bill, IUML

The Indian Union Muslim League (IUML) on Thursday morning moved Supreme Court to challenge the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2019, which has been cleared by both Houses of Parliament and is awaiting the President’s assent before it becomes a law. The Bill was cleared in Lok Sabha on Monday and sailed through the Rajya Sabh, where the government lacks a majority, on Wednesday.

In its plea, the Kerala-based political party, an ally of the Congress in the state, has appealed before the top court to declare the bill as illegal and void. According to news agency ANI, senior Congress leader and noted lawyer Kapil Sibal will represent the Kerala-based political party in the apex court.

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This comes a day after the contentious Citizenship (Amendment) Bill cleared the Rajya Sabha hurdle. While 125 voted in favor of the bill in the Upper House, 105 MPs voted against it. The bill sailed through the Lok Sabha on Monday night smoothly where the ruling BJP enjoys a brute majority. Kapil Sibal and former minister P Chidambaram, both members of the Upper House, had questioned the government over the legal validity of the Bill during discussion in Parliament.

The Bill amends the Citizenship Act, 1955, to grant Indian citizenship to non-Muslim refugees from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan if they faced religious persecution there. They will be given Indian citizenship after residing in the country for five years, instead of 11 years which is the current norm.