The Supreme Court on January 22 issued notice on all matters and granted four weeks time to Centre for responding to the pleas challenging the validity of the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA). The apex court also 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 S A Bobde is hearing a batch of 143 pleas challenging the validity of CAA, including those filed by the Indian Union Muslim League (IUML) and Congress leader Jairam Ramesh.
Attorney General K K Venugopal, appearing for the Centre, told the bench that the government has been given copies of around 60 pleas out of the 143 petitions.
He said it wanted time to respond to pleas which have not been served to it.
Senior advocate Kapil Sibal urged the bench to put on hold the implementation of CAA and postpone exercise of the National Population Register (NPR) for the time being.
The court said it will not grant any stay on CAA without hearing the Centre on the matter.
The CAA seeks to grant citizenship to 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.
President Ram Nath Kovind gave assent to the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2019 on December 12, turning it into an Act.
The IUML submitted in its plea that CAA violates the Fundamental Right to Equality and intends to grant citizenship to a section of illegal immigrants by making an exclusion on the basis of religion.
The plea filed by Congress leader Ramesh, said the Act is a "brazen attack" on core fundamental rights envisaged under the Constitution and treats "equals as unequal".
Several petitions have been filed challenging the constitutional validity of the CAA, including by Rashtriya Janata Dal leader Manoj Jha, Trinamool Congress MP Mahua Moitra, All India Majlis-i-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) leader Asaduddin Owaisi.
Several other petitioners including Muslim body Jamiat Ulama-i-Hind, All Assam Students’ Union (AASU), Peace Party, Communist Party of India, NGOs 'Rihai Manch' and Citizens Against Hate, advocate M L Sharma, and law students have also approached the apex court challenging the Act.
Also read: Supreme Court to Examine Constitutional Validity of Citizenship Act