A bench headed by Chief Justice S A Bobde is hearing a batch of 143 pleas challenging the validity of CAA. (Photo Credit: PTI)
The Supreme Court on Wednesday said it will not grant any stay on the citizenship amendment act without hearing the Centre. A bench headed by Chief Justice S A Bobde is hearing a batch of 143 pleas challenging the validity of CAA. However, the top court said it may refer pleas challenging the validity of the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) to a larger Constitution bench.
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 on it. Senior advocate Kapil Sibal urged the bench to put on hold operation of CAA and postpone exercise of the National Population Register (NPR) for the time being.
Supreme Court has also given Centre four weeks to respond to pleas challenging validity of the act.
According to the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), members of Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, Parsi and Christian communities who have come from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan till December 31, 2014 and face religious persecution there will not be treated as illegal immigrants but given Indian citizenship.
The petition filed by IUML, which has been listed first for hearing, has sought an immediate stay on the implementation of the amended Citizenship Act. IUML said 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.
Some other pleas, filed later, have also sought a stay on the operation of the legislation which came into force on January 10. President Ram Nath Kovind gave assent to the Citizenship Amendment Bill, 2019 on December 12, turning it into an Act.
Several petitions have been filed challenging the constitutional validity of the CAA, including by RJD leader Manoj Jha, Trinamool Congress MP Mahua Moitra, AIMIM leader Asaduddin Owaisi. Several other petitioners include Muslim body Jamiat Ulama-i-Hind, All Assam Students Union (AASU), Peace Party, CPI, NGOs 'Rihai Manch' and Citizens Against Hate, advocate M L Sharma, and law students have also approached the apex court challenging the Act.