SC scheduled to hear over 200 PILs Monday including against CAA

A bench headed by Chief Justice U U Lalit is scheduled to hear the petitions challenging the validity of the CAA whose enactment had triggered widespread protests across the country.
Supreme Court
Supreme CourtReuters

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court is scheduled to hear over 200 PILs Monday including a batch of petitions challenging the constitutional validity of the contentious Citizenship (Amendment) Act.

A bench headed by Chief Justice U U Lalit is scheduled to hear the petitions challenging the validity of the CAA whose enactment had triggered widespread protests across the country.

According to the list of businesses uploaded on the apex court's website, a bench comprising the Chief Justice and Justice S Ravindra Bhat has posted 220 petitions for hearing, including the lead plea by the Indian Union of Muslim League against the CAA.

Several PILs pending for a couple of years in the top court will also be taken up for hearing.

The CJI-led bench is also scheduled to hear some other PILs including a plea filed by an organisation, We The Women of India, for creating adequate infrastructure under the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act across the country for providing effective legal aid to affected women.

The plea had said domestic violence continues to be the most common crime against women in India despite the law being enacted more than 15 years back.

Hearing the batch of pleas on December 18, 2019, the top court had refused to stay the operation of the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA), but had issued notices to the Centre.

The amended law seeks to grant citizenship to non-Muslim immigrants belonging to Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Christian, Jain, and Parsi communities who came to the country from Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Afghanistan on or before December 31, 2014.

The top court had issued notice to the Centre and had sought its response by the second week of January 2020.

However, due to the COVID-19-induced restrictions, the matter could not come up for a full-fledged hearing as it involved a large number of lawyers and litigants.

The Indian Union Muslim League (IUML), one of the petitioners that have challenged the CAA, said the act violates the fundamental Right to Equality and intends to grant citizenship to a section of illegal immigrants by making an exclusion based on religion.

The plea by IUML filed through advocate Pallavi Pratap seeks an interim stay on the operation of the law.

The plea filed by Congress leader Jairam Ramesh has said the Act is a ''brazen attack'' on core fundamental rights envisaged under the Constitution and treats ''equals as unequal''.

''The impugned Act creates two classifications, viz, classification on basis of religion and the classification on the basis of geography, and both the classifications are completely unreasonable and share no rational nexus to the object of the impugned Act i.e., to provide shelter, safety, and citizenship to communities who in their native country are facing persecution on grounds of religion,'' the plea has said.

Several other petitions have been filed challenging the constitutional validity of the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2019, including by RJD leader Manoj Jha, Trinamool Congress MP Mahua Moitra, and AIMIM leader Asaduddin Owaisi.

Other petitioners include those by Muslim body Jamiat Ulama-i-Hind, All Assam Students Union (AASU), Peace Party, CPI, NGOs 'Rihai Manch' and Citizens Against Hate, advocate M L Sharma, and law students have also approached the apex court challenging the Act.

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