Chief Justice of India SA Bobde on Thursday expressed regret over the violent protests against Citizenship Amendment Bill and the National Register for Citizens. The CJI's remarks came as a petitioner sought urgent hearing of a plea seeking to declare the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) as constitutional. The plea also sought court's direction to all states to implement the law.
The bench headed by CJI Bobde expressed surprise over the petition and said this is the first time that someone is seeking that an Act be declared as constitutional.
"This court's job is to determine the validity of a law and not declare it as constitutional," the bench also comprising justice BR Gavai and Surya Kant said.
"The nation is facing difficult times...the attempt must be to bring peace...these petitions don't help the cause," said the bench. The observation came after advocate Vineet Dhanda sought urgent listing of his plea to declare CAA as constitutional and a direction to all states for implementation of the Act. The plea has also sought action against activists, students and media houses for "spreading rumours".
The bench also said that it will hear the petitions challenging the validity of CAA when the violence stops.
A similar observation – that the court would only intervene once violent protests stop - had been made by the CJI last month too when the court was urged to take suo motu cognizance of the violence in Jamia Millia Islamia and Aligarh Muslim University against students.
The apex court is currently faced with a bunch of petitions, both pro and against the citizenship act. Some petitioners have also urged the court to take notice of violence during protests and the alleged police excesses.
On 18 December, the apex court had agreed to examine the constitutional validity of the CAA, but refused to stay its operation. The hearing is slated for 22 January.
The apex court will also hear Centre's petition seeking transfer of several related petitions in different high courts to the top court, on Friday.
The newly amended law seeks to grant citizenship to non-Muslim migrants belonging to Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Christian, Jain and Parsi communities who came to the country from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan on or before 31 December, 2014. President Ram Nath Kovind gave assent to the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2019 on 12 December, turning it into an Act.
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Updated Date: Jan 09, 2020 14:09:25 IST