Former solicitor and senior lawyer Harish Salve said that the proposed amendment of the Citizenship Amendment bill does not violate Article 14, 25 and 21 of the Indian Constitution. He also said that the bill is pro-minorities and not anti-Muslim.
In a debate on the Citizenship Amendment Bill (CAB) hosted by the English news channel Times Now Salve responded to a question on the bill saying, “CAB is not anti-Muslim and does not even violate Article 14, 15 or 21 of the constitution.”
Salve said that the bill is for granting Indian citizenship to religious minorities in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Bangladesh. Salve added, “the constitutions of these countries are based on religion. This does not mean that other communities won’t be given citizenship. The bill does not violate the Articles of the Constitution. So, I do not see why this bill is being opposed so much.”
Article 14 of the Indian Constitution guarantees equality before the law. It means that every Indian citizen will be presented before the law without any special privileges and will be treated equally in equal circumstances.
Article 15 (1) and (2) of the Indian Constitution guarantees that every Indian will be treated without any discrimination based on their religion, race, caste, sex, place of birth, etc. It ensures that all citizens have equal access to public facilities and amenities like shops, hotels, restaurants, places of entertainment, avail government benefits, etc.
Article 21 of the Indian Constitution guarantees the right to life and personal liberty of all Indian citizens except the procedure established by the law. The right to life is extended to all humans and thus includes foreigners as well.
The Citizenship (Amendment) Bill 2019 seeks to grant Indian citizenship to non-Muslim refugees from Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Afghanistan. Through this bill, Indian citizenship will be provided to the members of Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, Parsi and Christian communities, who have come from the three countries to India till December 31, 2014.
The Bill was tabled for discussion in the Lok Sabha on Monday by Union Home Minister Amit Shah and was passed late on Monday night.
The opposition parties had objected its nature and described it "against Muslim community", which the government rejected saying it does not affect the community residing in the country. The Bill will be debated upon in the Rajya Sabha today.
With inputs from Agencies.