Day 1 Arguments: 18 December 2019

The Supreme Court is hearing petitions challenging the constitutionality of the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2019. The Court has clubbed over 50 petitions to the original petition filed by the Indian Union Muslim League (IUML).

 

Today, the Bench comprising Chief Justice S.A. Bobde, Justice B.R. Gavai and Justice S. Kant issued notice to the Union of India and listed the matter for 22 January 2019.

 

Public misunderstanding

BJP politician and Supreme Court advocate Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay prayed for the Court to direct the Union government to publish the 'aims and objectives' of the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2019 in newspapers. He claimed that many of the on-going protests against the CAA stem from misunderstandings about its intention.

 

Responding to Mr. Upadhyay, Chief Justice S.A. Bobde asked the Attorney General for his opinion. Attorney General K.K. Venugopal said that the Court did not need to issue an order and that he would 'see to it'. 

 

No stay

Several counsels urged the Bench to issue a stay on the CAA and begin hearing the matter immediately. Chief Justice Bobde stressed that the Court would only hear the matter after the winter vacation. He was not receptive to the request for a stay.

 

Attorney General K.K. Venugopal remarked that there were at least four Supreme Court judgments that establish that once an Act is notified, it cannot be stayed. Senior Advocate Rajeev Dhavan countered that the Act had yet to be notified. 

 

The Bench did not grant the request for a stay. Rather, it objected to the lack of decorum being observed by several counsels, who were simultaneously presenting arguments. 

 

(Court reporting by Abhishek Sankritik)