IUML moves SC for stay on operationalising CAA, seeks Centre's clarification on NRC & NPR

New Delhi, Jan 16 (PTI) The Indian Union Muslim League (IUML), the first petitioner to move the Supreme Court against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), filed an application on Thursday seeking stay on the operation of the legislation which came into force on January 10.

In another application, the IUML has sought direction to the Centre to clarify its position on National Register of Citizens (NRC) and National Population Register (NPR).

The Kerala-based political party filed the intervention application in the writ petition against CAA and referred to the decision of Uttar Pradesh government to recommend the names of 40,000 illegal migrants to the Centre who can be granted citizenship under the amended Act.

It sought from the top court stay on the notification dated January 10, bringing the CAA into force 'in the interest of justice'.

'Pass orders staying the operation of the notification dated January 10, issued by the Union of India directing the coming into force of the provisions of the Citizenship Amendment Act, 2019 from January 10 till the such time the present writ is pending before the court,' it said.

If the operation of the Amendment Act is not stayed, the issue will become 'fait accompli' as once the citizenship is given to a person under the legislation, it cannot be taken away, it added.

'Therefore since the Amendment Act is pending adjudication before this court, it would be in the interest of justice, that the operation of the Amendment Act, including such procedures under the Amendment Act for granting citizenship to illegal migrants be stayed until the matter is decided by the court,' the application said.

In the separate application on the issue of NRC and NPR, the IMUL sought direction to the Centre to clarify as to whether the NRC and the NPR exercises are linked.

It said that different ministers of the government have been giving 'contradictory statements' creating widespread confusion and panic among the people.

'Therefore the respondent Union of India must clarify their stand and halt any proceedings in relation to the said NRC and NPR process till the present writ is pending before this court,' the application said.

It sought directions to Centre to clarify as to whether a pan India NRC will be prepared and its exercise implemented across the country.

The application also sought to put on hold the exercises of the preparation of the NRC and the NPR till its petition challenging the CAA is pending.

It said that section 14 A of the Citizenship Act, 1955, which was added in 2004, did not mandate a nationwide NRC to be conducted.

'Further, the same was in respect with the border states, where the problem of illegal migrant exists. The rest of the country does not face any such problems,' it said, adding that government is not compulsorily required to have a NRC under the law.

The CAA, which was passed last year by the Parliament was notified on January 10, grants Indian citizenship to non-Muslim minorities -- Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, Parsi and Christian -- who migrated to India from Afghanistan, Pakistan and Bangladesh till December 31, 2014, following persecution over their faith.

On December 18, 2019, the top court had issued a notice to the Centre and sought its response by the second week of January on a batch of pleas challenging the CAA's legality.

The apex court fixed January 22 for hearing 59 anti-CAA petitions, including those filed by the IUML and Congress leader Jairam Ramesh. RJD leader Manoj Jha, Trinamool Congress MP Mahua Moitra and AIMIM leader Asaduddin Owaisi have also filed pleas against the act.

The CPI(M)-led Kerala government has also become the first state to challenge the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2019 by invoking powers under Article 131 of the Constitution to approach the Supreme Court and sought that it be declared as violative of the basic structure -- principle of equality, freedom and secularism.

It had invoked Article 131 of the Constitution which empowers a state to move the Supreme Court directly in matters of dispute with the Centre or any other state.

Other anti-CAA petitioners include the Jamiat Ulama-i-Hind, All Assam Students Union (AASU), Peace Party, CPI, NGOs 'Rihai Manch' and Citizens Against Hate. Several law students have also approached the apex court challenging the Act. PTI MNL ABA SJK RKS SA