The Supreme Court on Thursday said it would hear the challenges to the Citizenship Amendment Act once the violence stops. The top court rebuked a petitioner who sought that the law be declared constitutional, and said such pleas do not help the cause, Live Law reported.
“How do we declare an Act of the Parliament as being constitutional?” a bench led by Chief Justice of India SA Bobde said. “There is always a presumption of constitutionality. For the first time, I am hearing of such a prayer. The court has to decide the validity of a law, not declare that a law is constitutional.”
“There is so much of violence,” the bench said. “The nation is facing difficult times...the attempt must be to bring peace...these petitions don’t help the cause.”
The plea was filed by advocate Vineet Dhanda, and sought directions to publicise the new law extensively through the media and advertisements. The plea also sought an order for the Election Commission to take strict action against political parties opposing the law and “spreading rumours and violence”. The petition also urged the court to issue a direction to state governments to implement the law.
The top court refused to hear the plea urgently.
Last month, a clutch of 60 petitions were filed in the top court challenging various aspects of the law, which relaxed conditions for migrants of six non-Muslim communities from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan to get Indian citizenship. The Supreme Court issued a notice to the Centre asking it to reply by January 22.
Protests erupted last month across India against the amendments to the Citizenship Act and the alleged police brutality against the students.
On Wednesday, the Centre moved the Supreme Court to seek the transfer of various petitions challenging the Citizenship Amendment Act from the High Courts to the top court. The Supreme Court agreed to hear the plea on Friday.
Corrections and clarifications: An earlier version of this article said that the court on Wednesday had refused to hear petitions related to violence at Jamia Millia Islamia and Aligarh Muslim University. This actually happened last month.