Indian Union Muslim League (IUML) has approached Supreme Court against the recent notification issued by the Ministry of Home Affairs inviting citizenship application from non-Muslim refugees from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan, who are currently residing in India.

Party leader P K Kunhalikkutty, who is member of Kerala legislative assembly, filed petition on Tuesday, alleging that the ministry’s move is illegal and against the provisions in the constitution as the case on the citizenship amendment act (CAA) is pending with the same court. It was on May 28 that the Home Ministry issued an order empowering 13 district collectors of five states — Gujarat, Chhattisgarh, Rajastan, Haryana and Punjab — to grant citizenship certificates to applicants belonging to six minority communities from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan.

The order issued by the Centre is manifestly illegal and runs counter to the provisions of the Act as well as the Constitution, the petition stated. “As Section 5 (1)(a)-(g) of CAA lays down in unequivocal terms the persons who are eligible to apply for citizenship by registration, Section 6 of the Act permits any person (not being an illegal migrant ) to apply for citizenship by naturalisation. Therefore, the attempt being made by the centre in whittling down the applicability of the two provisions through an executive order is illegal. That the two provisions read together do not permit the classification of applicants on the ground of religion and therefore the order goes beyond what is permitted by the provision itself,” the plea says.

“The concept of granting citizenship to persons on the basis of religion was introduced via the Citizenship Amendment Act, 2019. The act is against Articles 14, 15 and 21 of the Constitution and violative of the basic structure of the Constitution. The government had, during the course of the hearing of the petition regarding CAA, submitted before court and provided assurance that staying of the Amendment Act was not necessary since the rules of the Amendment Act had not been framed. However, government, in a roundabout way, and in an attempt to circumvent the assurance given to court, have sought to implement their mala fide designs envisaged under the Amendment Act through the recently issued order,” the petition said, demanding to stop all proceedings in connection with the order.

Earlier in writ plea, Kunhalikkutty had approached the apex court against CAA, saying the Act was anti-constitutional and was against the theory of equality enshrined in it.