Day 1 Arguments

Citizenship Amendment Act

December 18th 2019

Today, the Supreme Court heard 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).

A 3-Judge Bench comprising Chief Justice S.A. Bobde, Justice B.R. Gavai and Justice Surya Kant issued notice to the Union of India and listed the matter for January 22nd, 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 ongoing 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 at least four Supreme Court judgments 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)