Analysis; States challenging central acts.
The state of Kerala approached the Supreme Court almost 15 days after its Legislative Assembly unanimously requested the Center to repeal the CAA on December 31, 2019. It occurs only three days after the entry into force of the CAA on January 10. .
The case, represented by the lawyer Jaideep Gupta and G. Prakash, presented: “Therefore, there is a controversy, involving factual and legal facts, between the State of Kerala and the Union of India, concerning the application of legal rights as a state and also for the application of legal, constitutional and other legal rights of the inhabitants of the state of Kerala.”
It said that the CAA was discriminatory and irrational in making concessions to grant citizenship to illegal immigrants fleeing persecution in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Bangladesh. The link between Indian citizenship and the country of origin and religion of illegal immigrants was manifestly discriminatory and unequal. “It is a banal and consolidated law that legislation that discriminates on the basis of an intrinsic and central characteristic of an individual cannot form a reasonable classification based on an intelligible difference,” argued the cause.
The state of Kerala expressed amazement at the way in which the word “persecution”, which appears in the text of the CAA’s “statement of objects and reasons”, does not reach the main body of the law. This would mean that illegal immigrants from these countries and selected religions would have priority in granting Indian citizenship.
It deals with the original jurisdiction of the Supreme Court, on the basis of which the application was submitted, which challenges the validity of the CAA.
Article 131 of the 1949 Constitution
.Original jurisdiction of the Supreme Court Without prejudice to the provisions of this Constitution, the Supreme Court, with the exclusion of any other court, will have original jurisdiction in any dispute.
a) Between the Government of India and one or more States; or
(b) Between the government of India and any state or states on the one hand and one or more states on the other; or
(c) Between two or more States.
Need for original jurisdiction in these matters.
The Indian constitution divides power between the central government and state governments. However, there may be differences in the interpretation of the federal structure. To resolve these problems, the Supreme Court of India acts as an arbitrator.
Are there obstacles in the original jurisdiction of the Supreme Court?
Yes, the original jurisdiction of the Supreme Court does not extend to:
(a) A dispute arising out of any treaty, agreement, covenant, commitment or other similar instrument executed prior to the start of the constitution and which continues to function or which establishes that the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court does not extend to that dispute;
(b) Parliament may exclude the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court in disputes relating to the use, distribution or control of the water of any interstate river;
(c) Evidence presented by natural persons against the Indian government.
State of MP vs. uoi (2012)
In 2004, the state of Madhya Pradesh filed original application no. 6 of 2004 before the Court pursuant to article 131 of the Constitution of India, requesting the registers relating to the disputed notifications / orders of 02.11.2004 and issued on 04.11.2004 by the First Defendants Union of India pursuant to sections 58 (3 ) and 58 (4) of the Madhya Pradesh Reorganization Act, 2000 (hereinafter referred to as “MPR Law”), which notifies the date of dissolution of the MP Electricity Board (in short “MPEB”) for the undivided state of Madhya Pradesh and distribute the its assets, rights and responsibilities between the successors of the Electricity Boards for the reorganized States of Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh and to declare them null and void as unconstitutional and for some other remedies. Madhya Pradesh state versus Union of India – argued that states cannot contest a central law under article 131
Significance of current petition
The petitioners, from all walks of life across the country, argued that the law selectively welcomes “illegal immigrants” to India based on their religion and expressly excludes Muslims. They argued that the CAA shares an “impure link” with the National Citizens Register (NRC) and is contrary to the principles of secularism, the right to equality and dignity of life enshrined in the basic structure of the Constitution.
After Kerala, now the state of Punjab, ruled by the Congress party, has passed a resolution in its Assembly to scrap the Citizenship Amendment Act subsequently many other states are also coming forward against this CAA act. the petition filed by the Kerala govt is not against the laws framed by center it just opposes the arbitrariness, discrimination which is impliedly associated with the act towards some section of the society.
The lawsuit was filed in accordance with article 131 of the Constitution. According to Article 131, the Supreme Court has “original” jurisdiction in disputes between states or the Center and states. The article allows the court to take direct knowledge of this dispute. Kerala stated in its case that it would be forced under Article 256 to comply with the CAA, which it considers manifestly arbitrary, unreasonable, irrational and in violation of fundamental rights. Article 256 of the Constitution establishes that the executive power of each state must be exercised in such a way as to guarantee compliance with the laws established by Parliament.
Therefore, there is a dispute, involving factual and legal issues, between the State of Kerala and the Union of India, over the application of legal rights as a state and also on the application of fundamental constitutional rights and other rights laws of the inhabitants of the state of Kerala.
The Kerala government has requested that the law be declared unconstitutional and in violation of:
- Article 14 (equality before the law),
- Article 21 (protection of life and personal freedom) e
- Article 25 (freedom of conscience and free profession, practice and propagation of religion).
According to the petition, the amendments also violate India’s international obligations based on:
Article 14 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (which states that everyone has the right to seek and enjoy asylum of persecution in other countries).
Article 15 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (which states that everyone has the right to a nationality and that nobody will be arbitrarily deprived of their nationality or denied the right to change their nationality) and
Article 26 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (which establishes that all people are equal before the law, that all people have the right without discrimination to equal protection of the law and that the law prohibits any discrimination and guarantees all protection equal and effective of people against discrimination for any reason, such as race, color, sex, language, religion, political or other opinions, national or social origin, property, birth or other state).
The law contradicts the basic values and principles of the Constitution. In light of the anxiety of the country’s population, the Center must take measures to modify the CAA and maintain the country’s secular perspective. The need for time is unity among all Indians who wish to protect and preserve our precious values of democracy and secularism.