NEW DELHI – The Supreme Court will listen to petitions on the controversial Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) when “violence stops”, Chief Justice of India SA Bobde said on Thursday.
The remark came when a petition seeking to declare the controversial legislation as constitutional was mentioned by Advocate Vineet Dhanda before a bench headed by CJI.
CJI Bobde said “the country is going through critical times. The endeavour should be to bring peace. Such petitions don’t help”, LiveLaw quoted.
On Puneet Kaur Dhanda's petition to declare CAA as constitutional, CJI SA Bobde says "the country is going through critical times. The endeavour should be to bring peace. Such petitions don't help . However, SC agrees to hear his petition along with other pleas
— Live Law (@LiveLawIndia) January 9, 2020
Petitions of this nature lead to causing more agitations and do not help in the endeavour to restore peace, CJI said, Bar&Bench quoted.
Putting a query to the lawyer, the court said: “Who wants CAA to be declared ‘constitutional’, and how can this court declare that an Act passed by the Parliament is constitutional?”
Observing that there is always “a presumption of constitutionality, and being a student of law, you should know”, it said that it was unusual to hear somebody seeking a declaration from the court that an Act is constitutional.
The bench said that the job of the court is to determine validity of a law and it is not its job to declare it constitutional as it refused to grant urgent hearing in the matter.
The plea sought direction to declare Citizenship Amendment Act constitutional and also to the Election Commission to identify and take stern action against political parties spreading rumours and violence in the country.
A total of 59 petitions have been filed in the top court challenging this law. The top court will begin hearing the petitions from January 22.
However, It is unclear exactly what violence Bobde was referring to.
As anti-CAA protests have swept across the country, the BJP and its ministers have blamed various opposition parties for violence during rallies and marches.
However, Kavita Krishnan, who went on a fact-finding mission in Meerut in December — along with political activist Yogendra Yadav and Nadeem Khan, the founder of United Against Hate — said that the Uttar Pradesh police had shot at and killed bystanders during anti-CAA protests in Meerut and raided Muslim homes.
Media reports found that the police had detained and tortured minors in Bijnor as part of a crackdown on a demonstration against CAA.
Former IPS officer Abdur Rahman called the police’s crackdown on students in Delhi’s Jamia Milia Islamia University and Uttar Pradesh’s Aligarh Muslim University “completely inhuman.”
More recently, a lawyer and her friend were hounded out of their home by a mob in Delhi’s Lajpat Nagar after they protested against Amit Shah’s pro-CAA rally in the area.