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No stay by SC on implementation of amended Citizenship Act, all 59 pleas to be heard on Jan 22

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New Delhi, Dec 18: The Supreme Court on Wednesday decided to examine the constitutional validity of the Citizenship (Amendment) Act but refused to stay its operation. The Act provides citizenship rights to certain class of refugees who have come to India from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan.

A bench comprising Chief Justice S A Bobde and justices B R Gavai and Surya Kant fixed the pleas, including those filed by the Indian Union Muslim League and Congress leader Jairam Ramesh, for hearing on January 22, next year.

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The bench issued notice to the Centre on the batch of pleas seeking stay on the operation of the law as well as on the main petition challenging the constitutional validity of the controversial legislation.

The apex court was hearing a batch of 59 petitions challenging the constitutional validity of the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2019. Those who filed petitons against the controversial act in the Supreme Court are Congress leader Jairam Ramesh, All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) chief Asaduddin Owaisi, Trinamool Congress MP (TMC) Mahua Moitra, Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD), Jamiat Ulema-e-Hind, Tripura's erstwhile ruling family scion Pradyot Kishore Deb Barman, Indian Union Muslim League (IUML), All Assam Students Union (AASU) and others.

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    Others have questioned the decision to leave out Ahmediyas, Rohingyas, Sri Lankan Tamil refugee etc from CAA ambit.

    One of the petitions was filed by Congress MP Jairam Ramesh, who said the act had created an "unconstitutional exclusionary regime" and treats "equals as unequal". "The impugned Act creates two classifications, viz, classification on basis of religion and the classification on the basis of geography and both the classifications are completely unreasonable and share no rational nexus to the object of the impugned Act ie, to provide shelter, safety and citizenship to communities who in their native country are facing persecution on grounds of religion," read this petition.

    The Citizenship Amendment bill passed in both houses of Parliament last week, following which President Ram Nath Kovind gave his assent to the bill becoming an act of the constitution.

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    The act aims to provide Indian citizenship to the Hindus, Jains, Christians, Sikhs, Buddhists and Parsis from Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan after six years of residence in India instead of the current mandatory stay of 11 years even if they do not possess any document.

    125 votes fell in favour of the Bill, while 105 votes were against it when the bill was tabled in the Rajya Sabha by Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Wednesday, day after the bill was passed in the Lok Sabha on Monday midnight.

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