Supreme Court to Hear Petitions Against CAA After Sabarimala and Related Matters

Chief Justice S.A. Bobde asked Kapil Sibal to mention the matter immediately after the Holi break.

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Thursday said it will hear pleas challenging the constitutionality of the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA) after arguments in the Sabarimala matter are over, asking senior advocate Kapil Sibal to mention the matter immediately after the Holi break.

Sibal sought urgent hearing of the CAA matter, saying that till date the Centre has not filed a reply. Attorney general K.K. Venugopal told the bench of Chief Justice S.A. Bobde, Justices B.R. Gavai and Surya Kant that the Centre would file a reply in two few days.

On January 22, the CJI-led bench had given the Centre four weeks’ time to respond to as many as 140 writ petitions filed challenging the validity of CAA, according to LiveLaw. The bench had also indicated that the matter might be referred to a constitution bench.

The controversial Act grants fast-track citizenship to members of six non-Muslim communities who faced religious persecution in Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh and who had entered India before December 31, 2014. It is being challenged on the ground that it offends Article 14 (equality before law) by bringing in religion-based discrimination. Some petitions also argue that the law violates the basic structure principle of secularism by linking citizenship with religion.

Protests have erupted across the country against the Act, which many fear that if seen in conjunction with the National Register of Citizens (NRC), could result in the disenfranchisement of Indian Muslims.

The Supreme Court will be closed for Holi vacations between March 9 and March 16. A vacation bench will be constituted to hear urgent matters during this period.

A nine-judge bench is re-examining various religious issues, including the entry of women into the Sabarimala temple and various mosques, and the practice of female genital mutilation in the Dawoodi Bohra community.

(With PTI inputs)