The south-west Indian state of Kerala has issued a legal challenge to a new citizenship act, claiming that the law violates the country’s constitution.
The state’s government has petitioned the Supreme Court to make a ruling on the legality of the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), which fast-tracks citizenship for religious minorities from neighboring states.
In the petition, as detailed by local media, authorities say that the CAA violates several articles of the Constitution and the basic structure of secularism in India.
Kerala has become the first state to pursue legal action against the act. The state’s assembly previously passed a resolution demanding the CAA be repealed.
The act, adopted last year, makes it easier to obtain citizenship for people of six religious groups that have arrived from Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Bangladesh, but does not do the same for Muslims. For this reason, its critics have deemed it discriminatory.
New Delhi has defended the legislation as a necessary humanitarian gesture to protect disadvantaged minorities who come from Muslim-majority countries, insisting it is not detrimental to anyone else. The law sparked protests across India, some of which turned violent.