The Asian Age – Nation is facing difficult times, bring peace: Supreme Court

The government has expressed the fear that different high courts may pronounce conflicting judgments.

New Delhi – India, 10 January 2020. The Supreme Court on Thursday said efforts should be made to douse frayed tampers in the wake of the agitations against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act and to normalise the situation.

“As it is the country is going through difficult times. The object should be to bring about peace. Such petitions don’t help that. There is a presumption of the constitutionality of law”, said Chief Justice S.A. Bobde, who was heading a three-judge bench which comprised Justices B.R. Gavai and Surya Kant.

The strong observation from the bench came in the course of the hearing of a petition by one Puneet Kaur Dhanda seeking a declaration that the Citizenship (Amendment) Act was not constitutional.

“We have never heard of a petition like this, to declare an act as constitutional,” the Chief Justice said, adding: “The job of the court is to determine the validity of a law, not declare it constitutional.” The CJI then permitted the petitioner to withdraw the plea, with the liberty to intervene in a similar matter which the court is seized with.

On Friday, the Supreme Court is likely to hear the Centre’s plea seeking the transfer of all cases which are the challenging the Citizenship Amendment Act pending before high courts across the country.

The Centre has sought the transfer of cases contending that the Supreme Court is already seized of the matter as 60 petitioners have challenged the law that has led to protests across the country. The government has expressed the fear that different high courts may pronounce conflicting judgments.

The Supreme Court had on 18 December 18 sought a response from the Centre on a batch of petitions challenging the constitutional validity of the amended citizenship law that provides for the grant of Indian citizenship to illegal migrants from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan belonging to Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, Christian and Parsi religions, barring Muslims.

The court will hold a further hearing on 22 January, when it will also consider the plea for a stay of the law which has been described by one of the petitioners as contrary to the provisions of the Constitution.

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