Supreme Court refuses to stay on CAA, grants Centre 4 weeks to respond.
The hearing of petitions regarding CAA began today in Supreme Court. The Supreme Court is hearing 144-odd petitions against the CAA. Many of the petitioners challenge the constitutional validity of the CAA. While some of them seek a declaration that the Act is constitutionally valid.
However, the Supreme Court refuses any stay on CAA without hearing the centre’s side. It grants centre a four week time to respond to the 144-odd petitions. Also, there are clear instructions from the Supreme Court that no high courts should take up cases on CAA.
A three-judge bench headed by CJI SA Bobde has been hearing the petitions today in the Supreme Court. With a huge number of petitioners and lawyers present in the courtroom, the Supreme Court says that the petitions must be put into categories. Also, some of the petitions may need to be heard separately like petitions from Assam and Tripura.
Lawyer Kapil Sibal, representing a group of petitioners, said that matter should be heard by a Constitution bench. The Supreme Court also says that it may refer the pleas to a larger constitutional bench comprising of five judges.
Attorney General KK Venugopal, appearing for the Centre, tells the SC bench that the government has been given copies of around 60 pleas on CAA out of the 143 petitions.
Senior lawyer Kapil Sibal urged the court to put a hold on the CAA and postpone the National Population Register (NPR) for the time being. But Attorney General Venugopal has opposed it in the court.
Venugopal says there should be no interim order without hearing the Centre. He also says that putting an interim hold on the act is just like seeking to stay on the same. To which CJI Bobde has agreed and said it won’t allow any stay without hearing from the Centre.
The petitioners challenging the law have submitted that the CAA discriminates on the basis of religion. This religious segregation not only violates Article 14, but also blatantly opposes to the Basic Structure of the Constitution.
Supporters of CAA have argued that the exclusion of Muslims from the three countries is reasonable. Since Muslims are in a majority in the three countries and are hence not in danger of persecution for their faith.