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SC issues notice to Centre asking to respond 59 petitions against CAA : Next hearing on January 22
TIWN Dec 18, 2019
SC issues notice to Centre asking to respond 59 petitions against CAA : Next hearing on January 22
PHOTO : Left : Supreme Court of India, Right : Anti-CAB Protest in Tripura on December 11, 2019 (TIWN File Photos)

NEW DELHI / AGARTALA, Dec 18 (TIWN): Supreme Court of India has issued a notice to the centre asking it to respond to 60 petitions challenging the constitutional validity of the controversial new citizenship law. In a brief hearing this morning a three-judge top court bench headed by Chief Justice of India SA Bobde also declined to stay implementation of the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, or CAA, and said: "we will have to see whether the Act has to be stayed". The bench - which includes Justices BR Gavai and Surya Kant - has set January 22 as the next date of hearing. During the hearing the court also asked Attorney General KK Venugopal, who was representing the centre, to consider using audio-visual medium to make citizens aware about CAA.On Tuesday Union Home Minister Amit Shah said the Narendra Modi government would not back down in the face of nationwide protests."Come what may, the Modi government will ensure these refugees get Indian citizenship and live as Indians with honour," Shah said at a rally in Delhi's Dwarka, even as fresh protests against the law broke out in east Delhi's Seelampur.

In recent days both Amit Shah and Prime Minister Narendra Modi - the senior-most leaders of the ruling BJP - have been fire-fighting protests against the new law. The PM appealed to students from an election rally in Jharkhand yesterday.

As protests, some violent, rage across the country over the CAA, a number of opposition parties and members of civil society have moved the Supreme Court asking it to move against the new law. These include the Indian Union Muslim League and the Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) - a key ally of the ruling BJP in Assam, where violent protests broke out even as the bill was being debated in parliament.

This case is crucial to Tripura as 2 petitions have  been filed from Tripura.

CPI-M’s indigenous wing GMP leader Ex-MP Jitendra Choudhury, Royal scion of Tripura Pradyot Kishore Deb Barman, challenging the constitutional validity of the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) too filed a writ petition. Addressing media on yesterday evening, Jitendra Choudhury thanked Supreme Court of India for looking in the matter with seriousness.

Tripura Rajya Upajati Ganamukti Parishad (TRUGP), state's oldest indigenous based party and frontal organisation of Communist Party of India-Marxist and All India Chakma Social Forum (AICSF) on Monday announced to file petition before the Supreme Court against the contentious Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA), 2019. The case number of GMP-45693/19.The Citizenship Amendment Act was a violation of the Instrument of Accession signed by the regent Maharani Kanchan Prabha Devi and the Indian Governor General.

"After the Partition in 1947 and the subsequent developments, influx of crores of people during the past several decades had already flooded the eastern part of the country, causing multiple problems in the social, cultural, political and economic life of eastern India," Chaudhury said.

Senior advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi mentioned for urgent listing of the two pleas and said they should also be heard along with a similar plea filed by the Indian Union Muslim League (IUML) that is coming up for hearing on Wednesday. “I have filed two pleas one by Indian National Congress and the other by ex-Maharaja of Tripura challenging the validity of Citizenship Amendment Act. All I want is that they should come up for hearing along with a similar petition filed by IUML on December 18,” Singhvi said.      

Several petitions, including by Trinamool Congress MP Mahua Moitra have been filed in the Supreme Court challenging the constitutional validity of the Citizenship (Amendment) Act 2019.

All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) leader Asaduddin Owaisi has also filed a petition challenging the validity of the Act. He has sought direction declaring provisions of the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2019 as “unconstitutional, null and void and ultra vires Articles 14, 21 and 25 of the Constitution of India and hence void ab initio”.

All India Chakma Social Forum (AICSF) in a press release said that Chakmas will also challenge constitutional validity of the CAA, 2019 in the Supreme Court.

"The exemptions in CAA given to some northeastern states are unconstitutional as the Supreme Court in the case of the National Human Rights Commission versus State of Arunachal Pradesh, on the Chakmas of Arunachal Pradesh had held that Inner Line Regulation does not apply for submitting citizenship applications," said Suhas Chakma, Advisor to the AICSF.

The AICSF said that there is no provision in the Constitution of India to exempt certain states from the Citizenship Act and India''s laws did not apply only to erstwhile Jammu and Kashmir as it had separate constitutional provision under Article 35A and Article 370 of the Constitution, which have since been repealed on August 5, 2019.

Suhas Chakma also asked, "Why exemption has only be given to Indigenous Autonomous District Council areas under the 6th schedule of the Constitution, why the same cannot be extended to 5th schedule areas? In fact, if despite entire Manipur not being indigenous areas can be declared as Inner Line Area, Assam and Tripura too can be fully covered."

At the end of the 1,355-year-rule by 184 kings, on October 15, 1949, the erstwhile princely state of Tripura came under the control of the Indian government after a merger agreement was signed between regent Maharani and then Governor General.

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