In a massive reprieve for Assam and Tripura, the Supreme Court on Wednesday has said that it will deal all matters related to the two states clubbed together while hearing over 140 pleas challenging the amended Citizenship Act (CAA). While arguing in Court on behalf of the Centre, Attorney General KK Venugopal stated that NRC will not be implemented in Assam till the time the final draft is published and by Registrar General of India. Meanwhile, the Supreme Court has granted the Centre four weeks time to respond to the pleas, while denying a temporary stay on the Act.
The pleas which were heard by a Supreme Court bench consisting of CJI SA Bobde and Justices S Abdul Nazeer and Sanjiv Khanna asked Congress counsel Kapil Sibal to assist in identifying these matters. Moreover, the Court has indicated setting up of Constitution Bench to hear the petitions challenging CAA and will take up the cases after 5 weeks to pass interim orders. The apex court has also directed High Courts too not proceed with any cases pending before it on CAA.
On August 31, Assam's National Registry of Citizens (NRC) state coordinator's office released the final NRC list which found 3,11,21,004 Assam residents eligible, while 19,06,657 Assam residents were found ineligible. The exclusion includes the number of people who did not submit their papers to the NRC authorities and is a major decrease from the over 40 lakh excluded in the second draft published on July 2018. As per NRC terms, an Assam resident has to prove that they or their ancestors entered Assam before midnight on March 24, 1971, in a bid to separating genuine Indian citizens from undocumented immigrants living in Assam.
The anti-CAA protests first started in Assam after the parliament passed CAA and has resulted in four deaths, succumbing to injuries due to police firing. The Assam government has stated that a total of 244 cases were registered and 393 people were arrested by the police by the end of December in connection with violence due to anti-CAA protests. The Citizenship Amendment Act amends the Citizenship Act 1955 to make refugees who are Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christians from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan, eligible for citizenship.