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Indian SC adjourns hearing of pleas challenging CAA

New Delhi, September 13 (KMS): The Supreme Court of India has adjourned the hearing of pleas challenging the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, and posted the matter for further hearing on September 19.

A bench of Chief Justice of India UU Lalit and Justice S Ravindra Bhat was hearing at least 220 petitions challenging the CAA. The pleas against the CAA first came up for hearing in the Supreme Court on December 18, 2019.

The CAA, anti-minority particularly the anti-Muslim law, was passed by the Indian Parliament on December 11, 2019, after which it met with protests all across India. The CAA came into effect on January 10, 2020.

A Kerala-based political party Indian Union Muslim League (IUML), Trinamool Congress MP Mahua Moitra, Congress leader and former Indian minister Jairam Ramesh, All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) leader Asaduddin Owaisi, Congress leader Debabrata Saikia, NGOs Rihai Manch, Citizens Against Hate, Assam Advocates Association, and law students are several among others who had filed the plea before the top court challenging the Act. In 2020, the Kerala government also filed a suit in the apex court becoming the first state to challenge the CAA.

The law fast-tracks the process of granting citizenship to Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christians but excludes Muslims that came to India from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan on or before December 31, 2014. The top court had earlier issued notice to the Indian government and refused to pass an interim order staying the law without hearing the government.

The petitions contended that the Act, which fast-tracks the grant of citizenship to non-Muslim migrants from Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Afghanistan, promotes religion-based discrimination. The amendments have also been challenged on several other grounds, including the violation of secularism, and various articles of Indian Constitution as well as the provisions on citizenship and constitutional morality.

The plea filed by Congress leader Jairam Ramesh has said that the Act is a “brazen attack” on core fundamental rights envisaged under the Constitution and treats “equals as unequal”.

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