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Misinformation Being Spread on SC's CAA Order, We Never Sought Interim Stay, Says Congress

The reaction came after the apex court earlier in the day decided to examine the constitutional validity of the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), but refused to stay its implementation.

PTI

Updated:December 18, 2019, 9:41 PM IST
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Misinformation Being Spread on SC's CAA Order, We Never Sought Interim Stay, Says Congress
Sonia Gandhi chairing a meeting of the Congress top brass on Thursday.

New Delhi: The Congress on Wednesday said it did not seek an interim stay by the Supreme Court on the amended citizenship law and alleged "misinformation" was being spread, while asserting that the legislation goes against India's global obligations.

The reaction came after the apex court earlier in the day decided to examine the constitutional validity of the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), but refused to stay its implementation.

Congress leaders Abhishek Singhvi and Jairam Ramesh told a press conference here that in its petition against the law, the party did not seek an interim stay on the legislation.

They alleged that the law is "unconstitutional" and goes against international and territorial treaties signed by previous governments.

The government must explain why it has brought minorities from only three countries into the ambit of the new law, Singhvi demanded.

"The main petition in the court today was ours, filed by Jairam Ramesh. I want to clarify that none of the petitioners had asked for an interim stay. We did not seek an interim stay. We only sought a show cause notice to be issued," he said.

There is misinformation being spread about "our petition", the Congress leader asserted.

There were "about 55-60 petitions" and the Supreme Court made it clear in the beginning that it is issuing notice on the main plea, which will be heard on January 22, Singhvi said.

"We made three requests in our petition. This Act (CAA) is unconstitutional. It is against our international duties. This government has violated territorial agreements signed by previous governments, including the Assam Accord and the All Tripura Tribals Force," he said.

"This Act is a clear violation of the right to equality described in the Constitution. There is no provision to find out the harassment and it is selective. The strange thing is that the word 'torture' does not exist in the Act and there is no mention of it. It is limited to statements only. The Torture Convention, which provides for giving shelter to the oppressed people, has been signed by India," Singhvi said.

The new law "hurts" the basic spirit of India. "So we will stand till the end, we will fight", he said.

Singhvi noted that the Congress did want things to be done in a hurry without understanding the whole thing.

Earlier in the day, a bench comprising Chief Justice S A Bobde and justices B R Gavai and Surya Kant fixed 59 petitions, including those filed by the Indian Union Muslim League and Congress leader Jairam Ramesh, for hearing on January 22, next year. The court issued a notice to the Centre on the pleas.

He said Narendra Modi's statement about protesters identified with clothes needs to be condemned as he was the prime minister of entire India and every citizen and not of a particular community or class.

"We do not have a prime minister for Hindus or Muslims. We do not have a prime minister for Christians and Buddhists. We have a prime minister for India... Large sections are losing faith because of the very very divisive comments which are made by very senior BJP people.

"It is the prime minister, the most eloquent prime minister does not seek to address. People are losing faith because equally divisive comments are made by senior ministers and then people are losing faith because concrete action like the NRC now threatens the whole country and the CAA are done" he said.

On the incidents of violence at the Jamia Millia Islamia, Singhvi expressed hope that the high court will issue orders for a time-bound inquiry which to be completed within two to three weeks.

"I think, my own personal views, the high court should immediately give a two-week time bound enquiry because there is a lot of dissatisfaction, there is a lot of material and we all have it on social media platform about who did what, who entered the university, who went to the library, how were some buses torched," he said.

On BJP leader Hemant Biswa Sarma's charge that he had evidence to suggest that the Youth Congress chief of Assam had planned the entire arson, Singhvi said "a Congress defector makes an allegation that he knows just like I know that you did something and you accepted a gospel truth.... He should produce evidence."

Singhvi said the fact that political parties have also joined the protest is a part of our vibrant democracy, "but certainly they are not to be decried and denied by use of words like Urban Naxal and Jholawallas' and Lutyens' Delhi gang".

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