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Top Indian court to hear case against controversial citizenship law

Top Indian court to hear case against controversial citizenship law

 
- Amended act excludes Muslims from Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Bangladesh from grant of citizenship in India
 

By Anadolu staff

ISTANBUL (AA) - India’s top court will hear pleas against the controversial citizenship law next week, Chief Justice D Y Chandrachud said.

“We will hear this on (coming) Tuesday,” Chandrachud said after submissions were made by senior lawyer Kapil Sibal, appearing on behalf of the Indian Union Muslim League.

“There are 190 plus cases. All of them will be heard,” Chandrachud added.

Sibal had filed a plea to stay the implementation of the amended citizenship law “till the pendency of petitions challenging the constitutional validity of the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA) 2019 before the apex court,” New Delhi-based PTI News reported.

In 2019, when the act was passed, India witnessed widespread protests in many states. After countrywide protests, the matter reached the country’s Supreme Court where many petitions against the new law are pending.

Weeks ahead of the country's general elections, India on Monday announced the implementation of the contentious law, triggering sporadic protests in eastern Assam state, as well as in the southern state of Tamil Nadu.

The amended act grants citizenship to Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsi or Christians from Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Bangladesh, but excludes Muslims.

Kapil had pleaded before the top court that once the citizenship is granted to migrant Hindus, “it cannot be taken back and hence the issues needed an early hearing.”

The CAA was an integral part of the right-wing Hindu ruling Bhartiya Janata Party’s 2019 general election manifesto.

Pakistan on Thursday condemned the amended law and said: “Evidently, the legislation and relevant rules are discriminatory in nature as they differentiate amongst people on the basis of their faith.”

“The discriminatory steps further expose the sinister agenda of transforming India into a Hindu Rashtra,” said Foreign Office spokeswoman Mumtaz Zahra Baloch.

Meanwhile, New Delhi on Friday rejected any criticism against the implementation of the new citizenship law.

The new law "grants a safe haven to persecuted minorities," Indian Foreign Ministry spokesman Randhir Jaiswal said.

"Lectures by those who have a limited understanding of India’s pluralistic traditions and the region’s post-partition history are best not attempted," Jaiswal said in response to the US State Department and others, calling the criticism of CAA implementation as "misplaced, misinformed, and unwarranted."

The US State Department had said Washington was "concerned" about the new law.

“We are closely monitoring how this act will be implemented. Respect for religious freedom and equal treatment under the law for all communities are fundamental democratic principles,” State Department Spokesperson Matthew Miller said on Thursday.

South Asia underwent a partition in 1947 after the British left the sub-continent, giving birth to two nations, India and Pakistan, mostly on the basis of religion.

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