Even as nationwide protests against the contentious Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA), 2019 continue, the Union Government on Friday went ahead and formally notified the law. This means that the law came into effect starting Friday.
"In exercise of the powers conferred by sub-section (2) of the Section 1 of the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2019 (47 of 2019), the Central Government hereby appoints the 10th day of January, 2020, as the date on which the provisions of the said Act shall come into force," the government informed the general public through an 'extraordinary Gazette notification' published last evening.
The Act allows Hindu, Christian, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain and Parsi immigrants from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan, who faced religious persecution, and came to India before 31 December, 2014, to get citizenship in India
The CAA was passed by the Parliament on 11 December, while President Ram Nath Kovind had assented to the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2019 on 12 December, turning it into an Act. The Home Ministry, however, is yet to frame the rules for the Act.
Legality of law remains contentious
The Supreme Court on Friday sought stands of various petitioners, challenging the constitutional validity of the CAA before different high courts, on a plea by the Centre for transfer of their petitions to the apex court.
A bench of Chief Justice SA Bobde and justices BR Gavai and Surya Kant issued notices to all petitioners, seeking their replies, and slated the matter for further hearing on 22 January along with a slew of other anti-CAA petitions, already pending before the apex court.
Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for the Centre, told the court that different high courts adjudicating the same question of CAA's constitutionality may lead to the emergence of conflicting views from different high courts, eventually necessitating the apex court's intervention.
Additionally, it may also inconvenience lawyers, obliging them to rush to different high courts to attend proceedings, he pointed out.
The bench, however, said lawyers moving to different states for attending hearing in CAA matter is not its concern.
Earlier on 18 December, hearing a slew of anti-CAA petitions filed before it, the apex court had agreed to examine the constitutional validity of the CAA but refused to stay its operation.
The top court had on 18 December issued notice to the Centre and sought its response by the second week of January on a batch of pleas challenging the CAA's legality.
The apex court had fixed 22 January for hearing a total of 59 anti-CAA petitions, including those filed by the Indian Union Muslim League (IUML) and Congress leader Jairam Ramesh.
The petitions challenging the constitutional validity of the CAA before the court include those filed by RJD leader Manoj Jha, Trinamool Congress MP Mahua Moitra and AIMIM leader Asaduddin Owaisi.
Other anti-CAA petitioners include Muslim body Jamiat Ulama-i-Hind, All Assam Students Union (AASU), Peace Party, CPI, NGOs 'Rihai Manch' and Citizens Against Hate, advocate ML Sharma. Several law students have also approached the apex court challenging the Act.
With inputs from agencies
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Updated Date: Jan 11, 2020 08:31:49 IST