Supreme Court: The 3-judge bench of SA Bobde, CJ and SA Nazeer and Sanjiv Khanna, JJ refused to put a stay on the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2019 (CAA) and granted the Central government four weeks’ time to file a reply on the petitions challenging CAA. The Court also indicated setting up a Constitution Bench to hear the pleas.

The Court was hearing a batch of more than 140 petitions challenging or supporting the newly amended citizenship law that fast-tracks the process of granting citizenship to Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christians who fled religious persecution in Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan and took refuge in India on or before December 31, 2014.

During the hearing, CJI said,

“We may ask the government to issue some temporary permits for the time being.”

Attorney General K K Venugopal asked the Court to freeze filing of further petitions, as over 140 petitions have been filed and others who wish to be heard, may file intervention applications. He said,

“Centre has prepared a preliminary affidavit that will be filed today.”

Senior advocate Vikas Singh, appearing for the Assam Advocates Association, sought an ex-parte order from the court with respect to the implementation of the Act in Assam. He told the court,

“The situation in Assam is different, 40,000 people have already entered Assam since the last hearing.”

Several petitions were filed in the top court and high courts across the country for and against the CAA. There have been protests in different parts of the country against the Act. It has also been challenged by the Kerala government in the Supreme Court. Kerala and West Bengal have also said that they will not implement the amended law. However, Congress leaders Kapil Sibal and Salman Khurshid have said that
state governments cannot legally refuse to implement a law passed by the parliament.

Earlier, on December 18, 2019, the 3-judge bench of SA Bobde, CJ and BR Gavai and Surya Kant, JJ  had refused to stay the implementation of the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2019.

**READ THE ACT HERE: Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2019

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