Several petitions have been filed in the Supreme Court against the CAA. (Photo Credit: PTI)
A three-judge bench led by Chief Justice of India Sharad A Bobde is scheduled to hear on Wednesday 143 pleas seeking to examine the constitutional validity of the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA). The bench, which had issued notice to the Centre on December 18 on the bunch of pleas, is likely to hear petitions, including those filed by Congress leader Jairam Ramesh and the Indian Union Muslim League (IUML). The other two judges on the bench are Justices Sanjiv Khanna and S Abdul Nazeer.
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.
Congress leader Jairam Ramesh in its plea said the CAA is a ‘brazen attack’ on core fundamental rights envisaged under the Constitution and treats “equals as unequal”.
The Act seeks to grant citizenship to non-Muslim migrants belonging to Hindu, Buddhist, Sikh, Jain, Christian, and Parsi communities who came to the country from Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Afghanistan on or before December 31, 2014.
“The impugned Act creates two classifications, viz, classification on basis of religion and the classification on the basis of geography and both the classifications are completely unreasonable and share no rational nexus to the object of the impugned Act i.e., to provide shelter, safety, and citizenship to communities who in their native country are facing persecution on grounds of religion,” the plea has said.
The Supreme court had on January 9 refused to entertain a plea seeking that the CAA be declared constitutional, saying the country is going through difficult times and there is so much violence that endeavour should be for peace.
Several petitions have been filed challenging the constitutional validity of the CAA, including by RJD leader Manoj Jha, AIMIM leader Asaduddin Owaisi, Trinamool Congress MP Mahua Moitra. Several other petitioners include All Assam Students Union (AASU), Muslim body Jamiat Ulama-i-Hind, NGOs ‘Rihai Manch’, Peace Party, CPI, and Citizens Against Hate, advocate ML Sharma, and law students have also approached the apex court challenging the Act.
With PTI Inputs