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Citizenship Amendment Act: Supreme Court to hear Assam petitions separately

Citizenship Amendment Act

* Apex Court declines to stay Citizenship Act & NPR

* Centre given 4 weeks time to file counter affidavit

* High Courts restrained from passing any rider

NEW DELHI: While refusing to pass any order to restrain the operation of Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) or National Population Register (NPR), the Supreme Court on Wednesday said that the anti-CAA petitions from Assam and Tripura will be heard separately. The top Court also gave four weeks time to the Centre to file counter affidavit and the hearing will take place in the fifth week.

With respect to the anti-CAA petitions from Assam and Tripura , the apex Court observed that Assam’s problem with CAA is different from the rest of country in the backdrop of the earlier cut-off date for citizenship there being March 24, 1971, while under the newly amended citizenship law the cut-off date is December 31, 2014. Therefore, it is essential to segregate the Assam anti-CAA petitions for separate hearing from other pleas challenging CAA.

On a transfer petition filed by the Centre, the top Court also restrained all High Courts from passing any rider on the CAA.

A bench headed by Chief Justice SA Bobde also indicated the probability of constituting a Constitution Bench to take up the matter on the next date of hearing.

Senior advocate Kapil Sibal appearing for Indian Union Muslim League (IUML) challenging the new law, urged the Court to postpone the process for a few months.

However, Attorney General KK Venugopal opposed it saying it was equivalent to a stay.

“It means as good as granting stay on the operation of the law,” said the AG. Then the Chief Justice said: “We aren’t going to pass any such order today.”

Senior advocate AM Singhvi cited that the UPA government had identified 40,000 persons to grant citizenship under the new law, and if the citizenship is granted then revoking it will be an irrevocable process.

The Chief Justice said there is a possibility to issue them some temporary permits for the time being. The AG contested it stating that the law itself talks about taking back the citizenship in certain situation.

“There are provisions to withdraw citizenship,” said the AG. The AG also told the bench that the government has received copies of nearly 60 pleas out of 143 petitions. Therefore, it will be appropriate to grant some time period to reply to pleas which have not been served, reports IANS.

STAFF REPORTER ADDS: Meanwhile, AASU chief advisor Samujjal Kumar Bhattacharya and NESO chairman Samuel Jyrwa said here on Wednesday that the democratic movement in the entire North East as well as the legal fight against CAA will simultaneously go on.

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