New Delhi: The Supreme Court will hear on Friday the Centre’s plea seeking the transfer of all cases across the country challenging the Citizenship Amendment Act that are pending in various high courts.
A bench headed by Chief Justice S.A. Bobde agreed to hear the matter on Friday after solicitor-general Tushar Mehta urged the court to transfer all cases challenging the CAA that are pending before various high courts.
“We are of the prima facie view that high courts should hear petitions challenging the CAA and in case there is a conflict then we may look into it,” the CJI said at first.
Mehta sought to justify the transfer of cases pending before various high courts, including Karna-taka and Kerala, contending that the Supreme Court was already seized of the matter as 60 petitioners have challenged the law that has sparked protests across the country.
As the court initially did not appear inclined to transfer the cases to itself, Mehta said the high courts may pronounce conflicting order, leading to confusion.
The Supreme Court had on December 18, 2019 sought a response from the Centre on petitions challenging the constitutional validity of the CAA which provides for the granting of Indian citizenship to illegal migrants from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan from the Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, Christian and Parsi faiths, that is all barring Muslims.
The Supreme Court will hold a further hearing on January 22, when it will also consider a plea for the stay of the CAA, which has been described by the petitioner as contrary to the provisions of the Constitution.
The Centre has opposed any stay of the controversial law contending that the statute could not be stalled as there is an assumption of constitutionality in favour of the statute passed by Parliament.
Broadly, the petitioners opposed to the CAA have said it was contrary to secularism, as mandated in the Preamble of the Constitution, violative of the fundamental rights guaranteeing equality before the law (Article 14), prohibition of discrimination on the grounds of religion, caste, language, colour (Article 15) and the right to life guaranteed under Article 21 of the Constitution.
It has also been contended that the law under challenge is violative of the basic structure of the Constitution as secularism, equality before the law, prohibition of discrimination on grounds of religion, race, caste, sex or place of birth and the protection of life and personal liberty are part of the basic structure of the Constitution.
The Lok Sabha had passed the CAA on December 2 and the Rajya Sabha had passed it on December 11.
The gazette notification of the Citizenship Amendment Act was issued on December 12, which said it would come into force from the date notified by the Centre at a later date.