The Supreme Court will hear a batch of petitions challenging constitutional validity of the Citizenship Amendment Act on September 12, reported Live Law.

A bench of Chief Justice of India UU Lalit and Justice S Ravindra Bhat will hear the pleas.

Over 200 petitions have been filed against the 2019 law that provides citizenship to refugees from six non-Muslim religious communities from Bangladesh, Afghanistan and Pakistan, on the condition that they have lived in India for six years and entered the country by December 31, 2014.

The Act, however, is yet to be implemented as its rules have not been framed yet due to the coronavirus pandemic. In May, Home Minister Amit Shah had said that the law will be enforced as soon as the pandemic ends.

The petitioners have argued that the Act promotes religion-based discrimination.

One of the petitioners, Congress leader Jairam Ramesh, has contended that the law creates an “unconstitutional exclusionary regime” that treats “equals as unequal”.

The Indian Union Muslim League has urged the Supreme Court to declare the law unconstitutional, stating that it classifies immigrants as per religion and violates Articles 14 (equality before law), 15 (forbidding discrimination on grounds of religion, race, caste, sex, or place of birth) and 21 (right to life) of the Constitution, as well as the basic structure of the Constitution.

In January 2020, the Supreme Court had given the Centre four weeks to respond to the petitions.

In a 129-page affidavit filed in March 2020, the Union government had submitted that the citizenship law does not affect the legal, democratic and secular rights of any citizen, and that a law passed by Parliament may not be “within the scope of judicial review”.

The Centre said that the citizenship law only seeks to provide relief to members of persecuted communities living in Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh.

The Citizenship Amendment Act is a benign piece of legislation which seeks to provide a relaxation, in the nature of an amnesty, to specific communities from the specified countries with a clear cut-off date,” it added.