Apex Court refuses stay on CAA without hearing centre
The Supreme Court of India on Wednesday refused to grant a stay on the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) without hearing the centre. This was after senior lawyer Kapil Sibal urged the court to put on hold the CAA and postpone the National Population Register (NPR).
The five-judge constitution bench was headed by Chief Justice Sharad A Bobde. The court also gave the centre four weeks to respond to petitions and gave an interim order on about 144 petitions after Attorney General KK Venugopal, on behalf of the Centre, requested time to reply. He said that the government had been given copies of around 60 petitions and he needed some time to reply to them.
The Apex Court was hearing a batch of pleas challenging the validity of CAA, including those filed by the Indian Union Muslim League (IUML) and Congress leader Jairam Ramesh. The court also restrained all High Courts from hearing petitions on the CAA before it decided on those pleas.
The IUML submitted in its plea that CAA violates the Fundamental Right to Equality and intends to grant citizenship to a section of illegal immigrants by making exclusions based on religion.
The CAA grants citizenship to migrants of Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Christian, Jain and Parsi communities who came to the neighboring countries – Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan on or before December 31, 2014. The Citizenship (Amendment) Bill became an Act after President Ram Nath Kovind gave his assent to it on December 12 last year.