There were already about 60 petitions challenging the Act pending before the Supreme Court (File/Express photo: Ritesh Shukla)
The Supreme Court will hear on January 10 a plea by the Centre seeking transfer of petitions challenging the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2019 pending before various High Courts to the top court.
Appearing for the Centre, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta told a bench of Chief Justice of India S A Bobde and Justices B R Gavai and Surya Kant that there was a possibility that High Courts may give different orders which will create confusion.
The bench said the court was of the prima facie view that the High Courts should also look into the matter and the Supreme Court could look at it in case of a conflict.
Mehta pointed out that there were already about 60 petitions challenging the Act pending before the Supreme Court. To this, the bench said the High Courts dealing with the matter will also give it the advantage of having their views on the matter. Mehta said the Karnataka High Court will take up a petition on CAA on January 9.
On December 18, the Supreme Court decided to hear petitions challenging the Act and issued notices. The court refused to stay the operation of the Act and set January 22 as the hearing date.
Issuing notice, it also orally instructed Attorney General K K Venugopal to ask the government to publicise the provisions of the Act through the media to remove any confusion over it.
Why SC said let HCs also hear
While it agreed to hear the Centre’s plea to transfer to itself all petitions challenging the CAA, the Supreme Court did not accept the explanation that different HC orders would lead to confusion. It was of the prima facie view that HCs should also hear the matter and the SC could step in if there was any conflict. It also said it will have the advantage of having the views of the HCs on the matter.
The new citizenship law will provide Indian citizenship to non-Muslims — Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christians, who entered the country from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan until December 31, 2014.
Petitioners include Congress leader Jairam Ramesh, the Indian Union Muslim League and its MPs, Lok Sabha MP and AIMIM president Asaduddin Owaisi, TMC MP Mahua Moitra, All Assam Students’ Union and Tripura royal scion Pradyot Kishore Deb Barman. Ramesh in his plea has contended that the Act is a “brazen attack on the core fundamental rights envisaged under the Constitution” and “exfacie violates the fundamental guarantees under Article 14 as also Article 21 of the Constitution”.