Supreme Court will examine the constitutional validity of Citizenship Act

The Supreme Court on Wednesday decided to examine the constitutional validity of the amended Citizenship Act, which provides Indian citizenship rights to non-Muslim migrants of Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan, but refused to stay its operation.

The court issued a notice to the government on a batch of pleas challenging the Citizenship (Amendment) Act.

A bench comprising Chief Justice SA Bobde and justices BR Gavai and Surya Kant fixed pushed the hearing of 60 petitions for January 22, next year.

During the hearing, some of the lawyers, appearing for some petitioners, sought a stay on the operation of the newly enacted law.

The Attorney General K K Venugopal, representing the Government opposed the submission and said there are as many as four judgements which have held that a law cannot be stayed after being notified.

The Indian Union Muslim League (IUML), one of the petitioners which has challenged the CAA, said in its plea that it 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.

Parliament recently cleared the Act, which grants citizenship rights to religious minorities such as Hindus, Christians, Sikhs, Parsis, Jains and Buddhists, who have come to India on or before December 31, 2014.

President Ram Nath Kovind had given assent to the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2019 on December 12, turning it into an Act.

The petition alleged that the government’s CAB was against the basic structure of the Constitution and intended to explicitly discriminate against Muslims as the Act extended benefits only to Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christians.

Several petitions have been filed challenging the constitutional validity of the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2019.

The law has triggered massive protests in India and universities across the country. At some instances there were violent clashes between forces and demonstrators as well.

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