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SC declines to stay Citizenship Amendment Rules

New Delhi, March 19 : The Supreme Court on Tuesday declined to pass any interim order staying the implementation of the rules notified by the Union Home Ministry under the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA).

Emphasising that the Union government must be given a reasonable time to respond to the interlocutory applications challenging the introduction of 2024 Citizenship Amendment Rules, a Bench headed by Chief Justice of India, DY Chandrachud, posted the matter for further hearing on April 9.

The Bench, also comprising Justices JB Pardiwala and Manoj Misra, refused to pass any direction subjecting grant of citizenship under the impugned law to the outcome of the petitions challenging the validity of CAA.

Solicitor General (SG) Tushar Mehta, appearing for the Centre, pleaded that the impugned law does not take away but grants citizenship and hence, no prejudice must be caused to the petitioners on implementation of the CAA.

Referring to the multiple applications filed seeking stay on implementation of the Citizenship Amendment Rules, SG Mehta added that all these applications had not been served on them and a four-week time may be allowed for filing of reply.

On the other hand, Senior Advocate Kapil Sibal, appearing on behalf of the petitioners, strongly pressed for a stay on implementation of the Citizenship Amendment Rules.

“The problem is if somebody gets citizenship, it will be irreversible to reverse it and these petitions (challenging CAA) will get infructuous,” Sibal argued.

He reiterated that the top court in 2019 did not pass any stay order on implementation of the CAA because of non-existence of the rules.

Last week, the top court had agreed to urgently list the pleas seeking a stay on implementation of the Citizenship Amendment Rules.

In its application, Indian Union Muslim League (IUML) stated the rules notified under CAA are manifestly arbitrary and created an unfair advantage in favour of a class of persons on the ground solely of their religious identity, which is impermissible under Articles 14 and 15 of the Constitution.

It added that around 250 petitions challenging the provisions of the CAA are pending before the Supreme Court and in case CAA is held to be unconstitutional, an “anomalous situation” would arise when people who would have got citizenship under the impugned Act and Rules would have to be stripped of their citizenship.

“Therefore, it is in the best interest of every person to defer the implementation of CAA and impugned rules till this Hon’ble Court finally decides the matter…The Petitioner had pressed for a stay of the implementation of the provisions of the impugned Act.

“However, the Union of India had told this Hon’ble Court that the rules have not been framed and therefore the implementation will not take place. The Writ Petition has been pending for the last 4.5 years,” the application said.

The CAA 2019 grants citizenship to non-Muslim migrants who had come from Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Afghanistan on or before December 31, 2014.

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