Case Reported in 2015 SCC Vol. 3 March 7, 2015 Part 1

Constitution of India — Arts. 32, 21, 29, 14, 10, 11 and 4(2) r/w Arts. 368(1), 325, 326, 355 and 145(3) — Illegal immigrants from Bangladesh in Assam: Challenge to S. 6-A, Citizenship Act, 1955 after a delay of 27 yrs (said section inserted in 1985), is maintainable. When it is a question of violation of fundamental rights, delay and laches by itself without more would not be sufficient to shut the doors of the Court for any petitioner. Given the contentions raised, specifically with regard to pleas under Arts. 21 and 29, of a whole class of People, namely, the tribal and non-tribal citizens of Assam and given the fact that agitations on this score are ongoing, petitions of this kind cannot be dismissed at the threshold on the ground of delay/laches. By doing so the Court would be guilty of shirking its constitutional duty to protect the lives of its own citizens and their culture. In fact, the time has come to have a relook at the doctrine of laches altogether when it comes to violations of Arts. 21 and 29. (2015) 3 SCC 1

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