SC decides to keep PIL on Citizenship Amendment Bill pending; 'Parliament should take a call first,' says CJI Ranjan Gogoi

The Supreme Court on Monday decided to keep the public interest litigation (PIL) filed against the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill pending. Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi said the PIL cannot be heard yet as the Bill yet to be passed in the Rajya Sabha.

Gogoi said the PIL will be left pending till both houses of the Parliament decide on it. "The Parliament should take a call first and decide whether this is an appropriate time (for the Supreme Court) to intervene," the chief justice said.

News18 reported that the apex court cannot recognise a PIL against a Bill that is yet to become a law and as such, Gogoi has not dismissed the petition but asked for it to be brought up at an appropriate time. The Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016, seeks to provide Indian citizenship to non-Muslim migrants from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan based on some conditions.

File image of the Supreme Court of India. PTI

File image of the Supreme Court of India. PTI

The Bill was tabled by Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh and was passed by the Lok Sabha on 9 January, amidst walkouts staged by opposition parties, Congress and Trinamool Congress.

The Bill has not been passed by the Rajya Sabha in its Winter Session and is likely to come up in the Parliament's Budget Session. Should it thereby receive the President's consent, it will become an Act.

In December, 2018, a PIL had been filed in the Supreme Court, seeking direction to strike down the Passport (Entry into India) Amendment Rules, 2015, which regularise the entry and stay of immigrants in India by the 'Nagarikatwa Aain Songsudhan Birodhi Mancha' (Forum against Citizenship Act Amendment Bill).

The PIL challenged the rules and notifications that regularise the entry and stay in India of people from six religions, Hindu, Christian, Jain, Buddhist, Sikh and Parsi.

Author Hiren Gohain, former director-general of police Hare Krishna Deka and journalist Manjit Mahanta filed the plea. Following protests and widespread outrage over the Bill in the North East, the Assam Police filed a case against three intellectuals, including Gohain and Mahanta, of the state on charges of sedition after they raised the issue of separate statehood for Assam if the Citizenship Amendment Bill 2016 was passed by the government.

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Updated Date: Jan 14, 2019 12:33:40 IST

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