SC to hear petitions challenging CAA today

Clay Curtis
January 22, 2020

The Students' Federation of India (SFI) has moved the Supreme Court challenging The Citizenship (Amendment) Act, calling it discriminatory in nature and is destructive for the core principles of Indian constitutionalism.

The Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) passed by the Parliament of India on December 11, 2019, aims to fast-track citizenship for persecuted Hindus, Parsis, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains and Christians who arrived in India before December 31, 2014, from Muslim-majority Afghanistan, Bangladesh, and Pakistan.

The relationship between Bangladesh and India is now at its best, with cooperation in a "wide spectrum of areas", the prime minister said. It is the first Indian law to grant citizenship on the basis of religion.

Some of the petitions filed later have also sought a stay on the operation of the legislation which came into force on January 10.

India's Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Sunday claimed that 2,838 Pakistanis were among the refugees given Indian citizenship in the last six years as she attempted to defend the controversial Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2019 that has sparked widespread protests in the country, Times of India reported. "It has been passed by Parliament", said an official who did not want to be quoted.

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The apex court had on January 9 refused to entertain a plea seeking that the CAA be declared constitutional, saying the country is going through hard times and there is so much violence that endeavour should be for peace.

More than 8,000 people from the Christian community took to the streets in eastern India Monday to protest against a citizenship law that critics say discriminates against Muslims. Since then, there have been severe protests in different parts of the country against the Act.

Petitioners include Congress MP Jairam Ramesh, the Indian Union Muslim League, and its MPs, Lok Sabha MP and AIMIM president Asaduddin Owaisi, TMC MP Mahua Moitra, All Assam Students' Union and Tripura royal scion Pradyot Kishore Deb Barman.

The apex court also restrained all high courts from passing any order on CAA.

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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