[Citizenship Amendment Act] SC Sets Directions for Compartmentalizing Pleas; Slated for Hearing on Oct 31

Judge gavel Law Insider

Sakina Tashrifwala

Published on: September 13, 2022 at 19:46 IST

A group of 220 petitions contesting the constitutionality of the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) 2019 were considered by the Supreme Court on Monday.

The case was heard by a bench that included Justice S Ravindra Bhat and CJI UU Lalit.

The bench additionally ordered the States of Assam and Tripura to file responses to petitions relating to the challenge to the CAA that were particular to the two States in question.

The Central Government was also instructed to respond to the petitions challenging the CAA.

The matter is scheduled to be heard again by the court on October 31, 2022, while taking into account any intervening holidays.

Counsels who appeared in the several petitions on the topic from the beginning emphasised the need for the court to set a hearing date before discussing the case’s merits. According to senior attorney Kapil Sibal, there were two sets of issues that required segregation.

Tushar Mehta, the Solicitor General of India, agreed and said that the issues might be categorised for the convenience of the court. He also said that he could distribute the issues in advance and ensure that if there was any overlap, he would point it out.

Senior Attorney Menaka Guruswamy also emphasised that several cases were incorrectly categorised as not involving Assam, and the same had to be re-classified.

Senior Attorney Indira Jaising addressed two issues in court, claiming that the Union had not responded to her Assam petition and that there might be a conflict that might be avoided by creating a sheet to determine whether segregation was necessary or not.

The petitions were required to be divided into several sections so that arguments could be made more readily and kept to the issues raised by those segments, the court acknowledged, as had been suggested by numerous attorneys representing the parties in the dispute.

The CJI remarked-

“Our attention has been drawn to the order in which the matters from Assam and Northeast were asked to be segregated.”

Thus, in light of the order dated 22.01.2020, the court passed the following directions:-

  1. The office of Solicitor General shall prepare a complete list of the matters pertaining to these challenges.
  2. The matters shall be put in different compartments depending upon the challenge raised in individual petitions.
  3. The Union of India shall file appropriate responses with respect to segments of challenges. Let the needful exercise be done in 4 weeks from today.
  4. After such segmenting is done, the lead matters shall be demarcated and a convenience compilation representing lead matters shall be prepared after consulting counsels for the other side.

The court further stated that–

“In the meantime, let notices be issued in all fresh matters wherever notices have not been issued. Responses to petitions shall be filed by Union of India going by compartments. So far as State of Assam and Tripura is concerned, they shall also file their compilation reports and also complete pleadings by 4 weeks and their pleadings shall also be taken into consideration for the compilation…”

“Mr. Jaideep Gupta submits that the State of Kerala has independently filed a suit praying for relief which is similar in nature. List it for next week. Registry to list all pending matters which have not been allocated with this matter.”

Now, a hearing on the subject is scheduled for October 31, 2022.

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