Apex Court to refer pleas against CAA to 3-judge bench, hearing on October 31

Share on:

The Supreme Court will refer the petitions challenging the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2019 or CAA to a 3 judge bench, SC said today, adding it will issue further directions in the matter on October 31.

Presided over by CJI U U Lalit, a two-judge bench took up a batch of around 200 petitions on the matter and issued directions on completion of procedural formalities.

The bench asked the Centre to file its response to the petitions and sought replies from the states of Assam and Tripura as well on pleas specific to them.

“Now put the house in order and take it that we will be making a reference to a three-judge combination,” the bench, also comprising Justice S Ravindra Bhat, said after passing the directions.

The CAA seeks to grant Indian citizenship to non-Muslim migrants from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan.

Many, including opposition parties, have slammed it for excluding Muslims from the three countries.

The government, in response last year to one of the petitions, had called CAA “a benign piece of legislation” that it said seeks to “tackle a specific problem prevalent in specific countries, i.e., persecution on the grounds of religion… in light of the undisputable theocratic constitutional position… and the perception of fear amongst minorities…”.

It said the CAA does not touch obtaining of Indian citizenship by foreigners of any country and that legal migration, on the basis of valid documents and visas, continues to be permissible from all countries, including the three specified ones.

Today, the court said that as projected by various counsel appearing for the parties, the matters need to be put in different compartments so that submissions can easily be advanced and confined to the challenges arising in respect of such segments. It directed the office of the Solicitor General to prepare the complete list of matters pertaining to the challenge.

“The Union of India shall thereafter file its appropriate responses with respect to these segments of challenges,” the court said, directing that the needful be done within four weeks.

The pinnacle court also instructed that notices be issued wherever not already done in all fresh petitions. It also directed that a suit filed by the state of Kerala praying for similar reliefs as the other petitions, be listed along with the rest of the petitions on October 31.