Around 60 petitions challenging the Centre’s new Citizenship law, which has created a storm since being passed last week will be taken up by the Supreme Court on Wednesday. Among those who filed the petitions are senior Congress leader Jairam Ramesh, the Indian Union Muslim League and Asom Gana Parishad, an ally of the ruling BJP in Assam.
A three-judge bench headed by the Chief Justice of India, Justice SA Bobde, will hear the petitions. The other judges in the bench are Justices BR Gavai and Surya Kant.
The Citizenship Amendment Act is meant to expedite citizenship for non-Muslims from Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh who moved to India till 2014 after facing religious persecution in their home countries.
The petitioners have contended that religion cannot be the basis for grant of citizenship. The new law, they have also said, is against the basic structure of the Constitution as admitting illegal migrants as citizens on the basis of religion violates the fundamental rights to life and equality.
The law, they have also contended, affects the fundamental principle of secularism of the nation. The government, they said, has a duty to provide equal treatment to the members of all faiths.
Since President Ram Nath Kovind signed off on the law last Wednesday, there have been widespread protests, especially in the northeast, Bengal and Delhi. In Assam, five people have died in the violence that has taken place against the CAA.
In Delhi, a protest march by the Jamia students had gone out of hand and ended in violence on Sunday. Students pelted stones at the police when they tried to stop the march, buses and two-wheelers were burnt down in the streets. The subsequent police action at the university – barging in without permission and detaining students — had triggered protests in campuses across the country.
The student protests continued today and Delhi witnessed a second bout of violence. At northeast Delhi’s Seelampur, a protesting mob clashed with the police. A peaceful protest was also held at the Jamia Millia Islamia by the students.
Meanwhile, the All Assam Students’ Union (AASU) has observed three days Mass Satyagraha in Guwahati against the Citizenship Amendment Act which started on December 16 and will end today.