Zafar Aafaq | Caravan Daily
NEW DELHI—As the nation continues to remain in the grip of mass protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act, all eyes are on the Supreme Court where the petitions against the new law would come up for hearing on Wednesday, December 22.
There is a hope among the protesters that the apex court will intervene and rule against the new law which critics say violated the fundamentals of the Indian Constitution and undercut the cause of Secularism. Over a hundred petitions from several forums and civil society groups vie for attention of the apex court. Of them, 74 will be up for preliminary hearing tomorrow.
These include a single petition by the All India Muslim Majlis-e- Mushawarat (AIMMM), the federation of 18 Muslim organisations, which submits that the CAA threatened the most fundamental and core values as enshrined in the Constitution. According to the petition, CAA carries concessions for grant of citizenship to a select few from select countries on the grounds merely of religion, thereby violating the foundational principle of Secularism.
The petitions argue that the new law needs a serious re-consideration, even as Union home minister Amit Shah has rejected such calls.
The sheer number of the petitions showed the public sentiment involved, even though, legally speaking, a single petition has as much significance as hundred or more petitions on one subject.
“It is a good reflection of the robust judicial system that people expect justice from it and hence they come forward and file petitions,” said Supreme Court lawyer Fuzail Ahmad Ayyubi representing Mashawrat in the case.
WHAT IS LIKELY
When the Supreme Court takes up the case, mainly three outcomes are likely: one, the respondents (Union of India) may file a reply before the court which will then schedule the case for hearing from a particular date, on a day-to-day basis; two, the respondents may seek more time to file a reply; three, the court itself may say this is a question of public importance and involves interpretation of the Constitution, and hence refer the case to a five-judge Constitution bench.
Salman Khurshid, former union minister from Congress Party, one of the main counsels for petitioners, said that if the Supreme Court does not intervene in the matter, then the law (CAA) will remain in the statute book and everyone has to obey the law.
However, several state governments have raised objections to the Act and said they will not implement the new law in their states. As such, according to Khurshid, the act is provisional until the Supreme Court makes its pronouncement.