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MHA Citizenship Notification: IUML to file rejoinder in SC

MHA in its affidavit filed Monday said that its notification dated 28 May 2021 has no relation whatsoever with the CAA

Tuesday June 15, 2021 3:00 PM, IANS

IUML rejoinder

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Tuesday granted two weeks' time to the Indian Union Muslim League to respond to Centre's contention that its May 28 notification was meant for legal migrants and had nothing to do with the Citizenship Amendment Act, 2019 (CAA).

Senior advocate Kapil Sibal, appearing on behalf of IUML, contended that the affidavit filed by the Centre was served upon on his client only on Monday and they required time to file their rejoinder.

A bench of Justice Indira Banerjee and M.R. Shah allowed Sibal's plea and granted two weeks' time to file response. Attorney General K.K. Venugopal appeared for the Centre in the matter.

The Ministry of Home Affairs, in an affidavit, said:

"It is submitted that the notification dated 28 May 2021 has no relation whatsoever with the CAA."

The MHA added, "Similar delegation of power has been permitted by central government in 2004, 2005, 2006, 2016 and 2018 also. It is submitted that the notification dated May 28, 2021 does not relate to the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2019 (CAA) which has been inserted into the Act as section 6B."

The Home Ministry maintained the notification, issued on several representations, including those from current Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot in 2004 and 2009, does not provide any relaxations to the foreigners and it is applicable to those who have entered the country legally with valid passports and visas.

The IUML, in an application in the top court, said during the pendency of challenge to CAA, the MHA has gone ahead and issued an order dated May 28, whereby the Centre, relying on Section 16 of the Citizenship Act 1955, the power to grant citizenship under Sections 5(citizenship by registration) and 6(citizenship by naturalisation) have been delegated to collectors of certain districts to grant citizenship to persons. IUML argued that notification on the ground that the provisions of Citizenship Act, do not permit the classification of applicants on the basis of religion.

The Centre via May 28 notification delegated the power to grant citizenship to the collectors of 13 more districts -- Morbi, Rajkot, Patan and Vadodara in Gujarat, Jalore, Udaipur, Pali, Barmer and Sirohi in Rajasthan, Durg and Balodabazar in Chhattisgarh, Faridabad in Haryana and Jalandhar in Punjab -- and to the home secretaries of Haryana and Punjab.

"Therefore, now District Collectors of 29 districts and Home Secretaries of 9 States will exercise powers of Central Government to grant citizenship to the specified category of foreigners," said the affidavit.

 

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