SC Hearing on CAA Live Updates: The Supreme Court today made it clear that it will not grant any stay on the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) without hearing the Centre. A bench headed by Chief Justice SA Bobde 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.
Attorney General KK Venugopal, appearing for the Centre, told the bench that the government has been given copies of around 60 pleas out of the 144 petitions. He said it wanted time to respond to pleas which have not been served on it.
President of Swaraj India, Yogendra Yadav, expresses his disappointment with the Supreme Court order on the contentious Citizenship Amendment Act today. "...is this what you expect of a court tasked with defending the constitution in the face of this onslaught?," he writes on Twitter.
The Supreme Court refused a stay on CAA until it heard the Centre’s response and hinted that it would set up a five-judge Constitution bench to hear the matter. A three-judge bench headed by CJI S A Bobde, which was hearing a batch of 143 pleas, granted the Centre four weeks to reply.
Nothing wrong with the order. Nothing wrong in giving time to file reply. Nothing wrong in forming a constitutional bench or taking up interim relief after 4 weeks.
But is this what you expect of a court tasked with defending the constitution in the face of this onslaught?
PK Kunhalikutty of the IUML, that was one of the petitioners in today's SC hearing on CAA, welcomed the court proceedings. "We are happy, things are positive. Now its on the government to clarify things," Kunhalikutty says. In its petition, the IUML stated that CAA violates the fundamental Right to Equality and intends to grant citizenship to a section of illegal immigrants by making an exclusion on the basis of religion.
Jan 22, 2020 11:58 (IST)
Former chief minister of Assam, Tarun Gogoi, expresses his dismay as the country continues to be embroiled in protests against the new citizenship law, which he says, is of "no need". "144 petitions have been filed, protests are still on, the situation is serious. But the home minister says that CAA will be implemented at every cost." Imposing his hope in the Supreme Court, Gogoi adds, "Every community...students...every religion have expressed their concerns, our hope now lies with the SC."
Jan 22, 2020 11:50 (IST)
A recap of today's SC hearing on CAA:
- The Supreme Court Wednesday refused to stay the contentious Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA) until it heard the Centre’s response.
- A three-judge bench headed by CJI S A Bobde, which was hearing a batch of 143 pleas, granted the Centre four weeks to reply.
- A 3-judge bench to sit in the 5th week for fixing schedule, while a 5-judge bench to sit subsequently for interim relief, merit.
- The apex court also said that Assam and Tripura matters will be clubbed together to be dealt with separately. The Court asked senior advocate Kapil Sibal to assist in identifying these matters.
- The Supreme Court also restrains all other high courts from passing any order on CAA.
- During the hearing, Attorney General KK Venugopal arguing for the Centre said the government had been given copies of only 60 of 143 pleas and hence required more time to respond. At one point, CJI Bobde said the court may refer the matter to a Constitution Bench.
- senior advocates AM Singhvi, Kapil Sibal appearing for the petitioners requested the court to put on hold operation of CAA and postpone the exercise of NPR for the time being.
* No stay on #CAA/#NPR * 4 weeks for Centre to file reply * 3-judge bench to sit in the 5th week for fixing schedule etc * 5-judge bench to sit subsequently for interim relief, merit * Assam Tripura matters segregated
Reacting to the Supreme Court hearing on CAA, the women protestors at Shaheen Bagh in New Delhi say, " Next SC hearing is 4 weeks later. We have at least another month of protests ahead of us. One month, one year... protests will continue. Have faith in judiciary," they say.
Jan 22, 2020 11:31 (IST)
Before concluding today's hearing on the new citizenship law, the Supreme Court also restrains all other high courts from passing any order on CAA.
Jan 22, 2020 11:25 (IST)
Meanwhile CJI also says that Assam and Tripura matters will be clubbed together to be dealt with separately. The Court asks Sibal to assist in identifying these matters. "Issue notice on all matters. AG seeks time to reply. 4 weeks for reply. After that, we will list it for orders. Give us a list of all the categories of matters. Small matters we can hear in the chamber," the CJI says as the court ends hearing.
Jan 22, 2020 11:22 (IST)
CJI Refuses to Pass Restraint Order on CAA, NPR | The Attorney General asks for six weeks to file affidavits in all CAA matters. However, senior advocate Kapil Sibal and others oppose the suggestion. The CJI then refuses to pass any order of restraint against operation of CAA or NPR, and further gives the central government 4 weeks to file reply in CAA matters.
Jan 22, 2020 11:15 (IST)
The proceedings revert to the discussion on the NPR with senior advocate KV Viswanathan stating that postponing implementation of process is not same as a stay order. "If in NPR anybody is marked as doubtful, then that person could be disenfranchised and that is the concern. It is not a concern of minority alone but of majority as well," says Vishwanathan. Sibal chimes in and beseeches the court to order a stay on NPR. "If this hasn't happened in last 70 years, let it not take place for two more years. How does it change anything?" Sibal asks. However, the AG opposes it again and asks lawyers to file affidavits of what they are arguing now.
Jan 22, 2020 11:12 (IST)
Petitions on Assam Might Have to be Heard Seaparately: CJI | A plea is made, during the SC hearing on CAA, to hear Assam-related matters separately because "it has an Accord and is placed differently from others." To this, the CJI remarks, "Assam looks differently placed and hence fit might have to be heard separately." The court then gives the Centre given 2 weeks to file reply in Assam-related cases.
Jan 22, 2020 11:04 (IST)
Continuing with the court proceedings, the CJI says the first decision to be taken is whether we should wait for 99% of the petitions to come in. "So that tomorrow there is no argument by a new petitioner that no order was passed in my petition," he explains. The apex court is hearing 144 petitions against the contentious Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA)
Jan 22, 2020 11:01 (IST)
As the Attorney General insists there is no need for an interim order on the matter, senior advocate Vikas Singh takes objection and says that it is a must because "demography of Assam could be changed because of the law." "Half the immigrants in Assam are Bengali Hindus," Singh explains. However, the three-judge bench of the apex court then clarifies it won't pass an ex-parte order on CAA.
Jan 22, 2020 10:56 (IST)
CJI Indicates a Constitution Bench on CAA | The Attorney General says the Centre has prepared a preliminary affidavit which will be given to parties today. At this point, senior advocate Kapi Sabil suggests the matter should be referred to a constitutional bench. "Maybe it should," the CJI replies. "NPR begins in April so some interim order could be issued," Sibal goes on to suggest. However, the Centre opposes it, says the arguments will have to be made if any interim plea has to be argued.
Jan 22, 2020 10:54 (IST)
As the Supreme Court begins hearing over 140 petitions on the contentious citizenship act, the overcrowded state of the court room irks CJI, as he asks security to control the crowd of lawyers, litigants. The CJI says he can't hear a thing when lawyers argue but can only hear their trying to push themselves in from the doors CJI expresses unhappiness over crowd in the court.
Jan 22, 2020 10:50 (IST)
Women Lead Anti-CAA Protests | Meanwhile, hundreds of women continued with a peaceful sit-in on a road in Shaheen Bagh in New Delhi for over a month, braving freezing temperatures and attempts of law enforcement agencies to break them up for almost a month. Emulating their example, women across the many Indian states and small towns have carried out similar sit-ins in protest against the law.
Jan 22, 2020 10:40 (IST)
Unfazed by the backlash, the government has repeatedly denied allegations that the law is against the right to equality or targets a specific religion. Union Home Minister Amit Shah, who had tabled CAA in parliament, in a rally on Tuesday, said that the law would not be withdrawn under any circumstance, further posing a challenge to all the leaders in the Opposition to attempt to stop them.
Jan 22, 2020 10:33 (IST)
What SC Said in December | In December, the Supreme Court had issued a notice to the Centre as it refused an urgent hearing against the law in January, saying "the country is going through difficult times." “This court’s job is to determine the validity of a law and not declare it as constitutional,” the CJI then said.
Jan 22, 2020 10:32 (IST)
Tensions peaked on December 15, when the police trooped the Jamia Nagar area in New Delhi, a predominantly Muslim locality, and barged into the Jamia Milia Islamia University, reportedly committed excesses as it attacked students with tear gas and batons. This was followed by a similar police crackdown at the Aligarh Muslim Univesrity in Uttar Pradesh, evoking strong reaction from the masses who gathered in large numbers across the country in solidarity with the students of Jamia and AMU.
Jan 22, 2020 10:29 (IST)
Protests Against CAA Rock the Country | Nationwide protests broke out against the law after it was introduced and passed in Parliament's winter session in December last year. The demonstrations have brought tens of thousands of people from different faiths and backgrounds together, in part because the law is seen as part of a larger threat to the pluralistic social fabric of Indian society. Violence broke out on several instances after demonstrators bearing placards and shouting slogans clashed with the police.
Jan 22, 2020 10:19 (IST)
The plea filed by Jairam Ramesh said the Act is a “brazen attack” on the core fundamental rights envisaged under the Constitution and treats “equals as unequal”. IUML, another petitioner in the case, said that CAA violates the fundamental Right to Equality and intends to grant citizenship to a section of illegal immigrants by making an exclusion on the basis of religion.
Jan 22, 2020 10:17 (IST)
Women Hold Protests in front of SC | Ahead of today's hearing, around 20 women along with children gathered outside the Supreme Court on Tuesday night to protest against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act. The protesters squatted at the front gate of the Supreme Court, following which police dispersed them from the area, a police official said.
Jan 22, 2020 10:16 (IST)
What the Petitioners Arugue | Claiming the new citizenship law is illegal, the petitions contend that CAA stands against the basic structure of the Constitution . Some of the petitions have also sought the legislation that came into force on January 10 be withdrawn. Petitioners include Congress MP 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.
Jan 22, 2020 10:15 (IST)
SC to Hear Today Over 140 Pleas Challenging CAA | A three-judge bench of the Supreme Court will today hear over 140 petitions against the contentious Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) that provides a path to naturalization for immigrants from Bangladesh, Afghanistan and Pakistan, unless they’re Muslim. It has triggered nationwide protests and clashes with police that have led to 23 deaths. In today's hearing, the bench headed by Chief Justice of India (CJI) will examine the constitutional validity of the law.
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.
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.
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 an exclusion on the basis of religion.
The plea filed by Congress leader Ramesh, said the Act is a "brazen attack" on core fundamental rights envisaged under the Constitution and treats "equals as unequal".
Several petitions have been filed challenging the constitutional validity of the CAA, including by RJD leader Manoj Jha, Trinamool Congress MP Mahua Moitra, AIMIM leader Asaduddin Owaisi.
Several other petitioners include Muslim body 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.