The Supreme Court has refused to stay the implementation of the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2019 (CAA). A Bench of Chief Justice SA Bobde, Justice BR Gavai and Justice Surya Kant said the court will hear the pleas in January.
The apex court admitted 59 petitions against the contentious citizenship law and has asked the Centre to file its reply by the second week of January. The next hearing is on January 22nd, 2020.
The petitions under consideration include Congress leader Jairam Ramesh’s plea challenging the constitutionality of the citizenship law. The newly-enacted citizenship law triggered violent protest in several parts of the court.
The CAA was passed by the Parliament of India on December 11th, 2019. It amends the Citizenship Act of 1955 by providing a path to Indian citizenship for religious minorities from the predominantly Muslim countries of Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan. Six minorities are specified in the bill: Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christians.
To obtain citizenship under the amended law, an applicant must have entered India by December 31st, 2014, and have suffered “religious persecution or fear of religious persecution” in their country of origin.
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.
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