In a significant development, the Supreme Court has issued notices to the Centre regarding the challenges posed to the Citizenship (Amendment) Act Rules, as reported by the Indian Express. The notices, however, do not include any immediate orders to suspend the operation of these rules.

Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud, presiding over a three-judge bench, also extended notices to petitions contesting the 2019 Citizenship (Amendment) Act, marking a pivotal turn in the legal battle over contentious citizenship law.

The Centre has been granted time until 2 April to furnish its response, with petitioners required to submit their counters by 8 April. The bench, comprising Justices JB Pardiwala and Manoj Misra, has scheduled a hearing on 9 April to delve into the matter further.

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, representing the Centre, disclosed the staggering volume of challenges, with 236 petitions against the Act and 20 applications targeting the Rules. Mehta advocated for a four-week extension to compile a comprehensive reply.

Clarifying the government’s stance, Mehta emphasized that the Act and Rules do not strip anyone of citizenship, emphasizing their scope limited to individuals entered before 2014. However, the court cautioned against delving into the merits of the case without hearing petitioners’ arguments.

Senior Advocate Indira Jaising pressed for a directive halting citizenship grants until the case’s final adjudication, citing the irrevocability of citizenship once granted. However, the court refrained from issuing such an order, citing infrastructure deficiencies in implementing such a directive.

Senior Advocate Kapil Sibal echoed Jaising’s concerns, seeking the liberty to approach the court promptly in case of exigencies, which the bench granted.

Senior Advocate Kapil Sibal, who also appeared for a petitioner, said, “The moment something like this happens, give us liberty to move” the court. “Yes,” responded the bench.

It may be noted that India implemented the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2019 last week, paving the way for the grant of citizenship to undocumented non-Muslim migrants from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan who came to India before December 31, 2014.

Deeply concerned about impact of CAA on Muslims In India, says US Senator

Meanwhile, an American senator has expressed concern over the Indian government notifying rules for the implementation of the CAA, saying that as the US-India relationship deepens, it is important that the cooperation is based on shared values of protecting human rights of all, regardless of religion.

“I am deeply concerned by the Indian government’s decision to notify its controversial Citizenship Amendment Act, particularly the law’s potential ramifications on India’s Muslim community. Making matters worse is the fact that it is being pushed during the holy month of Ramadan,” Senator Ben Cardin, chairman of the powerful Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said in a statement.

Senator Cardin emphasized the importance of upholding shared values between the United States and India, particularly in safeguarding the human rights of all individuals, irrespective of their religious affiliation.

Last week, the US State Department had also expressed unease over the implementation of the CAA, emphasizing the fundamental democratic principles of religious freedom and equal treatment under the law for all communities. However, India swiftly rebuked these criticisms, labeling them as “misinformed and unwarranted.”

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