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Supreme Court seeks Centre’s response on immigrants

The Supreme Court on Tuesday sought a response from the Centre on a fresh plea seeking to quash a series of subordinate laws which allows the naturalisation of illegal immigrants who are Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christians fleeing religious persecution from Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan.

The petitioners have urged the court to declare the amendments made through the Passport (Entry into India) Amendment Rules, 2015; the Foreigners (Amendment) Order, 2015 and the order issued by the Ministry of Home Affairs on December 26, 2016 under the Citizenship Act, allowing the naturalisation of illegal immigrants who are Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christians, as “illegal and invalid”.

They have contended that the leeway offered by the subordinate laws would further multiply the “uncontrolled influx of illegal migrants from Bangladesh to Assam”. The illegal immigration has caused huge demographic changes in the northeastern State, the petitioners claimed.

A Bench, comprising Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justice Sanjiv Khanna, issued notice on the plea filed by Assam State Jamiat Ulama E Hind and ordered its tagging with a similar pending petition of ‘Nagarikatwa Aain Songsudhan Birodhi Mancha’ (Forum Against Citizenship Act Amendment Bill).

Earlier, the court had decided to wait till Parliament took a call on the new Citizenship (Amendment) Bill. The Bill was passed in the Lok Sabha on January 8.

The Citizenship (Amendment) Bill proposed to amend the original Citizenship Act of 1955 vintage. It mandated that those who crossed the border to India from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan and belong to “minority communities”, namely, Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christians would not be treated as illegal immigrants despite having entered India without valid travel documents. If the Bill is implemented, the immigrants from the minority communities from Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan would not face deportation.

Source: thehindu.com

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