No violation of Constitution, Amit Shah tells LS

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on December 09, 2019 Published on December 09, 2019

Union Home Minister Amit Shah

Shashi Tharoor submits notice to oppose introduction of the Bill

The controversial Citizenship (Amendment) Bill is set to be passed in Lok Sabha despite strong resentment from the Opposition against the introduction of the Bill. Home Minister Amit Shah countered the charges of the Opposition that the Bill is ultra vires of the Constitution and said the Constitution gives the Centre the powers to make laws. Shah said the Bill is not against Muslims as being portrayed.

The Opposition objected to the introduction of the Bill and questioned its necessity during the debate, too. Congress leader in the House Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury said the amendment goes against the essence of Articles 5, 10, 14 and 15 of the Constitution. He said those Articles define and protect the right of citizenship of Indians, and the amendments pose a serious threat to those rights. “Article 14 guarantees equality before law. Article 15 protects every person of discrimination on the pretext of religion, race, caste, sex or place of birth. Article 11 of the Constitution further empowers the Parliament to legislate on citizenship, but it has to be borne in mind that the said legislation is subject to Article 13 which envisages an express bar to legislation inconsistent with the Fundamental Rights guaranteed under Part III of the Constitution,” Chowdhury said.

RSP’s NK Premachandran questioned the legislative competence of the Bill. He said clauses 2 and 6 of the Bill violate the right to equality guaranteed under Article 14 of the Constitution as it provides “differential treatment to the illegal migrants” on the basis of religion. TMC’s Sougata Ray said the Bill is divisive.

‘Violating Constitution’

Congress’ Shashi Tharoor submitted a notice in the Lok Sabha to oppose the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill at the introduction stage on the grounds that it “violates” the fundamental right to equality.

“It divided on one simple principle: should religion be the determinant of our nationhood. The fact is, those who said religion should determinate the nationhood, they formed Pakistan. That was the idea of Pakistan. Mahatma Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru, Dr Ambedkar, Maula Azad, they all said, religion cannot determinate the nationhood. Our nation is land for everybody. That is why, this is violative of the fundamental structure of the Constitution of India. It betrays the Preamble,” he said.

Shah said the Bill is not violating any provisions of the Constitution. He reiterated that there is no political agenda behind the Bill and added that it is only a Constitutional process to give citizenship to those were denied basic civil rights for the last 70 years. He claimed that the Bill contains provisions to grant Citizenship to refugees on reasonable grounds, which in no way go against any provision under the Constitution of India and does not violate Article 14. He reassured that no provision of Article 371 would be violated by this Bill.

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Published on December 09, 2019
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