There were already about 60 petitions challenging the Act pending before the Supreme Court (File/Express photo: Ritesh Shukla)
The Supreme Court on Friday agreed to hear the government's plea seeking transfer of all matters related to the Citizenship (Amendment) Act pending before High Courts to the top court. It issued orders to all petitioners and is likely to hear the matter on January 22.
Earlier, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for the Centre, told a bench headed by Chief Justice of India S A Bobde that there was a possibility that High Courts may give different orders which will create confusion, adding that there were already about 60 petitions challenging the Act pending before the Supreme Court.
However, the bench said the court was of the prima facie view that the High Court should also look into the matter and the Supreme Court could look at it in case of a conflict.
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.
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”.
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.