The Supreme Court is set to hear petitions challenging the constitutionality of the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) on January 22nd, 2020.
Justices BR Gavai and Surya Kant in the bench headed by Chief Justice of India (CJI) SA Bobde will hear the pleas on CAA on January 22nd, 2020.
A total number of 75 petitions challenging the CAA has been filed in the apex court. The petitions under consideration include Congress leader Jairam Ramesh’s plea challenging the constitutionality of the citizenship law.
The Centre notified the CAA on January 11th, 2020. The CAA grants citizenship to Hindu, Sikh, Jain, Parsi, Buddhist, and Christian refugees from Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Bangladesh who came to India on or before December 31st, 2014.
Massive protests broke out in the country soon after the passage of the Citizenship Amendment Bill in both the houses of the parliament. Those protesting against the law say that the Act is discriminatory and creates a divide on the basis of religion.
It may be mentioned that the CJI Bobde on January 9th, 2020 said that the Supreme Court will hear the challenge to the constitutionality of the CAA only after the violence which erupted across the country against the legislation stops.
The Supreme Court had on December 18th, 2019 refused to stay the operation of the CAA but decided to examine the constitutional validity of the law. The apex court had issued notice to the Centre seeking its response by the second week of January against the petitions challenging the amended citizenship law.
The legislation has been criticised in India and abroad for allegedly violating the Constitution of India and its promise of equality under Article 14. Over 1,000 Indian scientists and scholars signed a petition opposing the bill. It was also criticised by the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom.