SC to hear nearly 60 pleas against Citizenship Act today
Today, the Supreme Court will hear nearly 60 petitions challenging the newly-implemented Citizenship Act, which has created a storm across India. The pleas will be heard by a three-judge bench, headed by Chief Justice of India SA Bobde. To recall, the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill was passed in the Parliament last week, and with President Ram Nath Kovind's assent, became a law. Here's more.
First, let's understand why the new Act is facing flak
The Citizenship Act will make it easier for persecuted non-Muslims from Bangladesh, Afghanistan, and Pakistan to get Indian citizenship. The critics of CAB, which was passed in Parliament after extensive debate, say the exclusion of Muslims shows the bigoted nature of BJP, which governs Centre. Meanwhile, Northeast residents are furious as they fear this new law will encourage immigration from Bangladesh.
Congress leaders, students, and Tripura's King approached SC
Among those who have approached the top court against the Act are senior Congress leader Jairam Ramesh, Asom Gana Parishad (which is an ally of BJP in Assam), and Indian Union Muslim League. The All Assam Students Union and Tripura's former king have also filed pleas. Notably, apart from CJI Bobde, the bench also includes Justices BR Gavai and Surya Kant.
Other petitioners include Owaisi, Trinamool's Mahua Moitra
Separately, Asaduddin Owaisi, the chief of All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM), and TN Prathapan, Congress' MP from Kerala, also filed petitions. Trinamool leader Mahua Moitra also went to the apex court calling the law discriminatory and said it defied India's secular fabric. Meanwhile, some petitioners have questioned the exclusion of Ahmediyas, Rohingyas, Sri Lankan Tamil refugees from the ambit of Citizenship Act.
For CAA, ex-Assam CM to don lawyer's coat after three-decades
As all eyes are set on SC, today's proceedings are also historical for Tarun Gogoi, the former CM of Assam. The senior Congress leader, who is a lawyer by profession, will don the black coat after 36 years to argue the constitutional validity of the Act. Gogoi, who will assist former finance minister P Chidambaram, last appeared for a case in 1983.
The Act is unconstitutional, said Gogoi
"This act is unconstitutional. When I was the chief minister I had sought asylum for the refugees who had come to India facing persecution in the neighboring countries," the 85-year-old told ET, and added people have right to discuss the Act.
Yesterday, SC turned down a plea related to Jamia incident
Meanwhile, yesterday, CJI Bobde heard a plea demanding probe into police's action in Jamia Millia Islamia University. To recall, personnel of Delhi Police thrashed students and hurled tear gas after a protest turned violent on Sunday. Saying that judicial decisions can't rely on newspapers, he directed the petitioners to approach high court first. However, the government was ordered to give medical assistance to students.