SC refuses to stay implementation of citizenship law, issues notice to Centre


New Delhi, Dec 18: The Supreme Court on Monday refused to stay the implementation of the Citizenship (Amenendment) Act 2019 and issued notice to the Central government on a batch of petitions challenging the constitutional validity of the Act.

A bench headed by Chief Justice S A Bobde, Justices B R Gavai and Surya Kant while refusing on stay the implementation, said that the matter will be heard in January after the apex court opens following a winter break.

The Act provides citizenship to Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, Parsi and Christian communities who faced religious persecution from Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Afghanistan and arrived in India before December 31, 2014.

During the course of proceedings, senior advocate Kapil Sibal, appearing for one of the petitioners, had sought a stay order on the newly amended law. While opposing it, Attorney General K K Venugopal, cited four judgements which say that the Act should not be stayed.

Venugopal said that the arguments on petition seeking stay would be “as lengthy as the petition”. When many senior advocates started arguing at the same time, CJI Bobde said in some Supreme Court, only one lawyer can come and argue.

On this, the Attorney General (AG) said the Indian Supreme Court could emulate the practice in Pakistan Supreme Court, where only one podium is before the judges and only one lawyer at a time could argue.

Advocate Ashwini Upadhyay said that the people are protesting but don’t know the details of the Act and the same needs to be publicised. “I visited Jamia, visited Seelampur. People don’t know about the Act,” he said.

CJI Bobde then asked AG for his thoughts on this “unusual request” and if a court order is needed for this.

AG assured the court that the same can be done by the government authorities and an order is not required.

The petitioners include Trinamool Congress (TMC) parliamentarian Mahua Moitra, Congress’s Jairam Ramesh, All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen’s Asaduddin Owaisi, various NGOs, and Indian Union Muslim League (IUML), among others. (ANI)