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SC Refuses To Stay on Citizenship Act, Court Gives Centre 4 Weeks to Respond

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The Supreme Court on Wednesday made it clear that it will not grant any stay on the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) without hearing the Centre and said it may refer pleas challenging the validity of the Act to a larger Constitution bench. A bench headed by Chief Justice SA Bobde is hearing 143 petitions, mostly challenging the validity of the CAA.

CJI Bobde said,”This matter is uppermost in everyone’s mind.” He further said,”Because of the unmanageable crowd, we may hear some small matters in chambers and lawyers can come in chambers.”

Appearing against CAA at the commencement of hearing, Kapil Sibal requested the court that NPR process be deferred for three months until the court gives a final decision on the citizenship Act. The Supreme Court said during the hearing that copies of petitions should be handed over to the Center and let them reply. Attorney General Venugopal said, “We have received a copy of only 60 petitions.” The Central Government should be given a copy of the petitions. Not only this, he also complained about the crowd of people in the court of CJI and cited the instructions to be issued in foreign court.

Petitioners challenging this law include Muslim League Congress leader Jairam Ramesh, RJD leader Manoj Jha, Trinamool Congress MP Mahua Moitra, AIMIM leader Asaduddin Owaisi, Jamiat Ulema-e-Hind, All Assam Students Union, Peace Party and many organizations Parties are involved.

The Muslim League petition states that CAA violates the right to equality. This law provides citizenship to a section of illegal migrants, while some have been denied citizenship in the name of religion. The petition demanded an interim stay on the law. The petition says that this law is against the Indian Constitution. It became Act after President Ram Nath Kovind approved this law.

It may be noted that earlier during the hearing on 9 January, Chief Justice SA Bobde had expressed concern over the violent protests happening across the country regarding this law and said that they would hear only when the violence stopped. The Supreme Court on 18 December issued a notice to the government, deciding to test the petitions challenging the validity of Citizenship Amendment Act, 2019.