SC to hear plea for transfer of PILs on CAA from HCs

SC to hear plea for transfer of PILs on CAA from HCs

Representative image. (PTI Photo)

The Supreme Court on Wednesday agreed to hear on Friday a plea by the Union government to transfer PILs filed in different High Courts against the validity of the Citizenship (Amendment) Act 2019, to the top court.

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta mentioned the matter before a bench, presided over by Chief Justice S A Bobde, saying different HCs may take conflicting views and about 60 PILs have already been filed in the Supreme Court.

Mehta said one such PIL filed in Karnataka High Court was coming up for hearing this week.

"We feel the HC should not take a view when the matter is pending here," the bench said.

At one point, the bench also said, "Let the HC come to conclusion, we might have the advantage of HC orders."

On this, Mehta said different HCs might take conflicting and contrary views.

On December 18, the top court decided to examine the validity of the Citizenship Amendment Act 2019 but refused to grant any stay on the statute, which has triggered massive protests across the country.

The court had issued notice to the Union government and put the matter for consideration on January 22.

The Citizenship Amendment Act, 2019 got its assent from the President on December 12, after its passage from both the Houses of Parliament.

A batch of petitions was filed challenging the constitutional validity of the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, which made only Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis, and Christians, except Muslims, from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan eligible for Indian citizenship as naturalisation, for their religious persecution.

The amended Act was being opposed by students and various political parties.

People from a cross-section of society including former Ministers Jairam Ramesh, MPs Mahua Moitra, Asaduddin Owaisi, Manoj Jha, political parties DMK, Kamal Hassan's MNM, Kerala's IUML among others filed their petitions in the SC.

They claimed the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2019 changed the character of Indian citizenship by removing its basis from secular to overtly favouring specific religious groups and thus created a sense of alienation among the Muslim community and made “them feel unwelcome in their own country”.

They contended the Amendment Act has brought disrepute to India and besmirched its reputation in the international community.

Allowing citizenship on the sole basis of belonging to a particular religion, and presumably upon making a binding statement might lead one to change the faith after obtaining citizenship, they pleaded.

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