SC declines to stop operation of CAA & NPR: gives government four weeks to respond to the fresh pleas against CAA

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Supreme Court has refused to stay the operation of Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and given  four weeks to the GOI to the please challenging its constitutional validity. A SC bench headed by Chief Justice SA Bobde said took up hearing of some 144 petitions mostly against CAA on January 22, and rejected the pleas for interim staying the contentious legislation saying it cannot grant any stay on CAA without hearing the Centre.  The apex court also said that it will constitute a larger constitution bench to hear the matter. Appearing for the Centre, Attorney General KK Venugopal said that the government has been given copies of around 60 petitions out of the 143 filed in the SC and it needs time to respond to pleas which have not been served on it. Some of the petitioners urged the apex court to put on hold operation of CAA and postpone exercise of National Population Register (NPR) for time being. The CAA seeks to grant citizenship to migrants belonging to Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Christian, Jain and Parsi communities who came to the country from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan on or before December 31, 2014.A five-judge Constitution bench will hear the matter. The bench said it will hear petitions pertaining to Assam and Tripura separately as the problem with CAA in these two states is different from rest of the country.”The petitions concerning Assam and Tripura as well as matters related to Uttar Pradesh, which is going ahead with the implementation of CAA without framing any rules, can be dealt with separately,” the court said. Senior advocate Kapil Sibal urged the bench to put on hold operation of CAA and postpone exercise of the National Population Register (NPR) for the time being. The court said it will not grant any stay on CAA without hearing the Centre on the matter.”Will pass order on granting any interim relief to petitioner opposing CAA after four weeks,” the bench said.The CAA seeks to grant citizenship to migrants belonging to Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Christian, Jain and Parsi communities who came to the country from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan on or before December 31, 2014.President Ram Nath Kovind gave assent to the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2019 on December 12, turning it into an Act. Among the petitioners  are RJD leader Manoj Jha, Trinamool Congress MP Mahua Moitra, AIMIM leader Asaduddin Owaisi, Jamiat Ulama-i-Hind, All Assam Students’ Union (AASU), Peace Party, CPI, NGOs ‘Rihai Manch’ and Citizens Against Hate, advocate M L Sharma, and law students have also approached the apex court challenging the Act. Meanwhile, Home Minister Amit Shah who had piloted the amended citizenship bill in Parliament has rejected its withdrawal .The CAA is part of the BJP’S manifests in the last Lok Sabha elections. West Bengal Legislative Assembly after Kerala and Punjab has decided to adopt a resolution demanding its repeal. Bengal Chief Minister has launched a state-wide movement to oppose the CAA whereas state BJP is mobilizing support in favour the legislation.AASU and some other organizations in Assam are opposed to CAA saying it dilutes The Assam Accord to detect, detain and deport undocumented people”.The state’s BJP government is in favour of CAA triggering agitation in the Brahmaputra Valley. The government has assured that the NPR will not be the first step towards an NRC. Senior Union Minister Ram Vilas Paswan also said the government may remove the questions related to dates and places of birth of a respondent’s parents from NPR. (Edited by Chakrarty PK with courtesy to Reliable Academy for the image)

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