A group of women protested against the Citizenship Amendment Act outside the Supreme Court late on Tuesday night. They were from Delhi’s Rani Garden area, according to activist group Pinjra Tod. The police forced the women to disperse, and detained one of them, Pinjra Tod added.
The protest came hours before the top court hears more than 140 petitions related to the controversial law. A bench of Chief Justice of India SA Bobde, and Justices S Abdul Nazeer and Sanjiv Khanna will also hear the Centre’s petition for citizenship law-related pleas filed in the Delhi High Court to be transferred to the top court.
The Citizenship Amendment Act, approved by Parliament on December 11 last year and notified on January 10, provides citizenship to refugees from six minority religious communities from Bangladesh, Afghanistan and Pakistan, provided they have lived in India for six years and entered the country by December 31, 2014. The Act, which has been widely criticised for excluding Muslims, triggered nationwide protests. At least 26 people died during demonstrations last month – all in the Bharatiya Janata Party-ruled states of Uttar Pradesh, Karnataka and Assam.
On January 14, Kerala became the first state to challenge the constitutional validity of the Act. Most states not ruled by the BJP have refused to implement it, with Kerala and Punjab passing resolutions against it. However, the Centre and Union ministers have said such resolutions are unconstitutional since the law has already been passed by Parliament.