SC to hear plea challenging Citizenship Amendment Act today
The Supreme Court of India (SC), on December 18, will hear around 60 petitions challenging the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA), 2019.
The hearing comes amid weeks of protests witnessed across the country, especially from students.
Senior Indian National Congress leader Jairam Ramesh, Trinamool Congress Member of Parliament (MP) Mahua Moitra, AIMIM’s Asaduddin Owaisi, the Indian Union Muslim League (IUML) and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)’s Assam ally, the Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) are some of those who have filed the petitions.
An association of lawyers from Assam and Kamal Haasan’s Makkal Needhi Maiam (MNM) have also filed petitions.
The matter will be heard by a three-judge bench headed by Chief Justice of India (CJI) SA Bobde. The bench also comprises Justices BR Gavai and Surya Kant.
December 18 is the court’s last working day before it closes for the winter vacation till January 1.
According to the CAA, those who have come to India from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan till December 31, 2014 after having faced religious persecution in their native country will not be treated as illegal immigrants but would be eligible for Indian citizenship. However, it will be applicable only to members of Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, Parsi and Christian communities.
While the petitions have been filed on various grounds, the key contention raised by the petitioners is that citizenship cannot be granted on the basis of religion.
Multiple states – governed by opposition parties – have said that they are against the amended Act and will not be implementing it. West Bengal, Punjab and Kerala have said that they will not implement the CAA. These are the same states that have also refused to implement the National Registry of Citizens (NRC).