A two-judge bench of the Supreme Court will on Monday take up for hearing over 200 petitions challenging the constitutional validity of the Citizenship Amendment Act. A bench led by Chief Justice of India UU Lalit and comprising Justice S Ravindra Bhat is likely to take up the matter for hearing on September 12, reported Live Law.
The CAA, which came into effect on January 10, 2020, aims to grant citizenship to migrants belonging to the Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, Parsi and Christian communities from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan.
The Act had evoked widespread protests across the country based on the perception that the CAA, when read along with the proposed National Register of Citizens, was aimed to deprive Indian Muslims of citizenship.
Over 200 petitions were filed before the Supreme Court opposing the law on grounds that it was discriminatory. The apex court had in January 2020 issued notice to the Centre over the petitions challenging the constitutional validity of the CAA.
A bench of then CJI Sharad A. Bobde and Justices BR Gavai and Surya Kant had in December 2019asked the Centre to file its response by the second week of January. The court, while maintaining that the CAA, 2019, was “uppermost in everybody’s minds”, refused to stay the law without hearing the government first.
The Centre, in its affidavit, maintained that the CAA did not encroach upon any existing right and does not seek to affect the legal or democratic right of any Indian citizen.
“CAA is a specific amendment which seeks to tackle a specific problem prevalent in the specified countries i.e. persecution on the ground of religion in light of the undisputable theocratic constitutional position in the specified countries..:,” the Centre stated in its affidavit filed before the top court.
The petitions before the Supreme Court stated that the Act which liberalises and fast-tracks the grant of citizenship to non-Muslim migrants from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan “promotes religion-based discrimination”.