SC to hear over 140 petitions challenging citizenship law today

Clay Curtis
January 22, 2020

The Supreme Court on Wednesday refused to pass a stay order on the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), and National Population Register (NPR) on Wednesday.

CAA grants citizenship to non-Muslim migrants belonging to Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Christian, Jain and Parsi communities who came to the country from Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Afghanistan on or before December 31, 2014.

The Centre also contended that it wants time to respond to pleas which have not been served on it.

A three-judge bench comprising Chief Justice SA Bobde, Justices Abdul Nazeer and Sanjiv Khanna was hearing a batch of 143 petitions have been filed challenging the validity of the CAA, including those filed by the Indian Union Muslim League (IUML) and Congress leader Jairam Ramesh. The Kerala government's petition argues that CAA is discriminatory because it covers only a class of minorities from a class of countries sharing borders with India and to which and from there have been trans-border migration.

The court gave Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government four weeks to respond to 144 petitions challenging the constitutional validity of the law which has ignited protests across the country.

Those opposing the amended law say it discriminates on the basis of religion and violates the Constitution.

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Assam, Tripura Accords and changes in citizenship will be considered separately.

A three-judge SC bench comprising Chief Justice of India (CJI) SA Bobde, Justice S Abdul Nazeer and Justice Sanjiv Khanna said today that it can not grant any stay on CAA without hearing Centre.

Amid massive protests against the Citizenship Amendment Bill (CAB) 2019, it was passed by the Parliament and it became an Act after President Ram Nath Kovind gave his assent to it on December 12, 2019.

Over 140 petitions have been filed in the Supreme Court on Citizenship (Amendment) Act.

The court further listed the matter for hearing after five weeks. AASU's petition will be among those heard today. "This court's job is to determine the validity of a law and not declare it as constitutional", the CJI then said.

In a statement on Tuesday, a group of Northeastern universities said they hoped the apex court would address the "unconstitutional and contentious CAA and its ill repercussions" on the indigenous people in the Northeast.

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