59 petitions on Citizenship Act to be heard by Supreme Court on Wednesday

The Citizenship Amendment Bill (CAB) was passed by both the Houses of the Parliament last week and hours later, it became an Act after President Ram Nath Kovind's nod. Ever since the passage of CAB in the Parliament, the country has witnessed several violent protests in most of the states, particularly in Assam, Delhi and Uttar Pradesh. 

59 petitions on Citizenship Act to be heard by Supreme Court on Wednesday
Image Courtesy: IANS

New Delhi: As many as 59 petitions challenging the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) will be heard by the Supreme Court on Wednesday. Some of those who filed the petitions are Congress leader Jairam Ramesh, All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) chief Asaduddin Owaisi, Trinamool Congress MP (TMC) Mahua Moitra, Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD), Jamiat Ulema-e-Hind, Tripura's erstwhile ruling family scion Pradyot Kishore Deb Barman, Indian Union Muslim League (IUML), All Assam Students Union (AASU) and others. 

A three-bench of Chief Justice SA Bobde and comprising Justices BR Gavai and Surya Kant will hear the pleas along with other pending matters.

The Citizenship Amendment Bill (CAB) was passed by both the Houses of the Parliament last week and hours later, it became an Act after President Ram Nath Kovind's nod. Ever since the passage of CAB in the Parliament, the country has witnessed several violent protests in most of the states, particularly in Assam, Delhi and Uttar Pradesh. 

The CAA grants Indian citizenship to refugees from Hindu, Christian, Sikh, Buddhist and Parsi communities fleeing religious persecution from Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh who entered India on or before December 31, 2014.

Jairam Ramesh moved the Supreme Court last Friday challenging validity of the CAA. He alleged that it is a brazen attack on the core fundamental rights envisaged under the Constitution.  

He claimed the Act promotes rather than checks illegal migration and is inextricably intertwined with the "bizarre concept" of a National Register of Citizens (NRC), "as it does not even attempt to address the humanitarian and logistical issues of excluding millions and is clueless as to where to house them, where to deport them and how to deal with them." He contended the Act is manifestly violative of Article 14 and 21 of the Constitution, is contrary to the law laid down by the apex court, and also violates the Assam Accord and International Covenants.

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Senior advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi sought urgent listing of two pleas and insisted the hearing should be clubbed with a similar plea filed by the Indian Union Muslim League (IUML). He informed the bench he has filed two pleas, one by the Congress and the other by ex-Maharaja of Tripura.

The IUML claimed that the CAA violates Article 14 of the Constitution.

Mahua Moitra's plea said that the Act is a "divisive, exclusionary and discriminatory piece of legislation that is bound to rend the secular fabric irreparably."

In its plea, the AASU stated that due to the continued influx of illegal immigrants in Assam, the Centre has failed to protect the rights of the state's indigenous people. It claimed the Act violates the obligations of the Centre under the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

Other petitioners, which include Peace Party, NGOs Rihai Manch and Citizens Against Hate, advocate ML Sharma and law students, have a common issue with the amended Act.

(With inputs from IANS)