Chief Justice Sharad Bobde scoffs at plea to declare CAA ‘constitutional’:

[1/9, 14:17] Sekarreporter: Chief Justice Sharad Bobde scoffs at plea to declare CAA ‘constitutional’:
[1/9, 14:17] Sekarreporter: Country is going through difficult times, endeavour to maintain peace; such petitions don’t help, CJI tells petitioner supporting the Citizenship (Amendment) Act
Chief Justice of India Sharad A. Bobde said the country was already going through difficult times and an endeavour should be made to maintain peace.
The oral comments from the Chief Justice came while hearing a petition seeking the “aggressive” implementation of the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA), which fast tracks benefits of citizenship to illegal immigrants who belong to six minority religions in Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan but excludes the same treatment to Muslims.
[1/9, 14:18] Sekarreporter: “Country is going through difficult times. Endeavour should be for peace. Such petitions don’t help,” Chief Justice Bobde told the lawyer, who made an urgent mention for early hearing of the petition.
The petition filed by a Mumbai-based woman, Puneet Kaur Dhanda, wanted the court to declare the Act “constitutional”.
But Chief Justice Bobde scoffed at the prayer, explaining to Ms. Dhanda’s lawyer that any law passed by the legislature was anyway attached with “a presumption of constitutionality”. It was now for the Supreme Court to independently review the law for elements of unconstitutionality in it.
“How can we just declare it (CAA) constitutional? There is anyway a presumption of constitutionality. You have been a student of law, you would know…” Chief Justice Bobde said.
He said the court had already listed over 60 petitions challenging the legality of the Act for hearing on January 22. These petitions argued that the Act shredded the nation’s basic and fundamental value of secularism by discriminating in the grant of citizenship on the basis of religion.
The CJI remained non-committal when the lawyer sought for an urgent hearing of his petition favouring the CAA.
Ms. Dhanda had asked the court to direct the Election Commission of India to take “strict action” against political parties which were “spreading false rumours and violence in the country”.
The petition also sought legal action against those protesting against the CAA. The protesters said the Act was a sure step towards the National Register of Citizens. It discriminated in the grant of citizenship on the basis of religion and ripped apart the fabric of secularism.
She said an “anti-India stand has become fashion of many students belonging to these institutions (JMI and JNU) which, otherwise, are famous for the achievements of their legendary students”.
But Ms. Dhanda sought strict action by the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting against newspapers and media houses which were “spreading false information and rumours”.
The petition may be listed on January 22 along with 60 other anti-CAA petitions filed by parliamentarians, civil rights groups, NGOs, political parties, activists and citizens from all walks of life across the country.
Ms. Dhanda asked the Supreme Court instead to clarify and declare that the CAA was “not against the spirit of constitution of India and in no sense against any citizen of India”.
“Political parties against the Central government have spread false rumours across the country regarding the Muslim brothers and sisters of our country that they will be thrown out from the country hereby creating an environment of fear and restlessness as a result of which violence has spread across the country… This has caused a huge economic loss and also brought a bad name to our country,” the petition claimed.

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