Law & Judiciary

    CAA: SC agrees to hear on March 19 pleas seeking stay on CAA Rules 2024

    The Hawk
    March15/ 2024
    Last Updated:

    Supreme Court set to hear pleas against CAA Rules 2024, focusing on the speed-up of citizenship for persecuted minorities from Islamic countries, amidst claims of religious discrimination and potential electoral implications.

    Supreme Court of India

    New Delhi [India]: The Supreme Court on Friday agreed to hear on March 19 the pleas seeking a stay on the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) Rules, 2024, which opened implementation of CAA granting speedy citizenship to members of persecuted minority in Islamic countries of Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan.
    A bench of Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud, Justices JB Pardiwala and Manoj Misra accepted the request of senior advocate Kapil Sibal, representing on of the petitioners in the case.

    Mentioning the matter for urgent hearing Sibal said, "CAA was passed in 2019. At that time there was no rules, so no stay was granted. Now they have notified the rules ahead of elections. If citizenship is granted, it will be impossible to reverse. So the interim application may be heard."
    Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, representing the Centre, none of petitioners has any locus to question the grant of citizenship.
    The bench then said it will list all the applications seeking stay on Rules for hearing on Tuesday.
    The apex court also said that the whole batch comprising 237 petitions will be listed along with the latest applications.

    The Central government on March 11 notified the Citizenship (Amendment) Rules, 2024 which effectively brought into force the controversial CAA of 2019.
    A day after the Central government issued the Rules for the CAA, Kerala-based political party Indian Union Muslim League (IUML) approached the Supreme Court seeking a stay on the implementation of Rules.
    The Kerala-based political party demanded that the impugned statute and regulations be stayed, and that no coercive steps be taken against persons belonging to Muslim community who have been deprived of the benefit of this law.
    Apart from IUML, Democratic Youth Federation of India (DYFI), Leader of Opposition in the Assam Assembly, Debabrata Saika, and Congress MP from Assam, Abdul Khaleque, and others also filed applications seeking stay on Rules.
    The IUML (petitioner), which was one of the first parties to challenge the CAA before the top court in 2019, filed application seeking stay on the Rules, saying, it creates a "highly truncated and fast-tracked process" for the grant of citizenships to non-Muslim migrants from the specified countries, thereby making operational a "manifestly arbitrary and discriminatory" regime solely on the ground of religious identity.

    The plea stated that Rules are manifestly arbitrary and creates an unfair advantage in favour of a class of persons solely on the ground of their religious identity, which is impermissible under articles 14 and 15 of the Indian Constitution.
    The plea said, "Since the CAA is discriminates on the basis of religion, it strikes at the root of secularism, which is the basic structure of the Constitution... India's constitutional framework, read with obligations under the international law, mandates a framework of refugee protection that is non-discriminatory."
    Plea said Act and Rules would result in valuable rights being created and
    citizenship being granted to persons belonging to only certain religions, thereby resulting in a "fait accompli situation".
    CAA, passed by Parliament on December 11, 2019 and got the President's assent the following day, met with protests all across the country. The CAA came into effect on 10 January 2020.
    The law fast-tracks the process of granting citizenship to Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christians who fled religious persecution in Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan and took refuge in India on or before December 31, 2014.
    The 2019 Act amended the Citizenship Act, 1955, which makes illegal migrants eligible for citizenship if they (a) belong to the Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, Parsi or Christian communities, and (b) are from Afghanistan, Bangladesh or Pakistan. It only applies to migrants who entered India on or before December 31, 2014. As per the amendment, certain areas in the Northeast are exempted from the provision.