New Delhi: The Supreme Court will hear on Wednesday (December 18) a batch of petitions challenging the constitutional validity of Citizenship Amendment Act on the grounds of its being based on religion, discriminatory and against the basic structure of the constitution.
A bench comprising Chief Justice S.A. Bobde, Justoce B.R.Gavai and Justice Surya Kant agreed to take up the issue on December 18 after senior counsel Kapil Sibal told the court that initially a matter challenging the Citizenship Amendment Bill was listed for December 18 but now it is not showing. He urged the court to retain it.
Just prior to Mr Sibal, senior counsel Abhishek Manu Singhvi mentioned a plea by Indian National Congress and former Maharaja of Tripura. He described the petitions by Jairam Ramesh, which was apparently by mistake described by the Indian National Congress and one by former Maharaja of Tripura as “very comprehensive” petitions.
A number of petitioner, which has now gone up to more than 15, have contended that the religion based CAA is negation of secularism — which is part of the preamble of the Indian constitution and discriminatory on the grounds of being violative of Article 14 (equality before law), Article 15 (prohibits discrimination on grounds of religion, race, caste, sex or place of birth), Article 21 (right to life) and other fundamental rights.
Congress Rajya Sabha member Jairam Ramesh in his PIL has contended that the amended citizenship law was a “brazen attack on the core fundamental rights envisaged under the Constitution.
Former Maharaja of Tripura, TMC Lok Sabha member Mahua Moitra, Congress law maker in Rajya Sabha Jairam Ramesh, former High commissioner Deb Mukherjee, All Assam Students Union, leader of opposition in Assam assembly Debabrata Saikia,and parliament members Abdul Khaleque and Rupjyoti Kumar, Uttar Pradesh based Peace Party, Rihai Manch, Citizens against Hate, Ehtesham Hashmi, Pradyot Deb Barman, Jan Adhikaar Party, Advocate ML Sharma and Law students from Symbiosis Law School have moved the top court challenging the constitutional validity of the Citizenship Amendment Act..
Congress Rajya Sabha member Jairam Ramesh in his PIL has contended that the amended citizenship law was a “brazen attack on the core fundamental rights envisaged under the Constitution ‘’’ (and) exfacie violates the fundamental guarantees under Article 14 as also Article 21 of the Constitution.”
He has further contended that the citizenship law under challenge has been enacted “disregarding the Report of the Joint Parliamentary Committee dated 07.01.2019 as also the terms of the Accord between AASU, AAGSP and the Central Government on the Foreign National Issue signed on 15.08.1985 (Assam Accord).”
The court has also been moved by All Assam Students Union which has contended that the Section 2, 3, 5 and 6 Citizenship Amendment Act are unconstitutional.
The petition by Debabrata Saikia says that the amended citizenship law violated the Assam accord. Saikia has been joined by member ofparliamenbt Abdul Khaleque and Rupjyoti Kumar.
In essence the basic contention in all the petitioners is that the controversial Citizenship Amendment Act that have triggered violent protest in Assam and the North-East Satates is tha the religion based citizenship was the negation of not only secularism which is a part of the preamble of the constitution but also liberal ethos, equality and justice.
The PIL by the Rihai Manch, Citizens against Hate says that religion based classification under the amended Citizenship Act is constitutionally immoral and antithetical to the idea of Republic of India.