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SC agrees to hear activist Saket Gokhale’s plea challenging Citizenship Act

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The Supreme Court on Friday agreed to hear a plea challenging the constitutional validity of the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) filed by activist and former journalist Saket Gokhale.

A bench headed by Chief Justice SA Bobde and comprising justices BR Gavai and Surya Kant issued notice to the Centre on the plea and tagged it along with over 160 petitions challenging the CAA which are to be heard by the top court this month.

The top court, on December 18 last year had agreed to hear the petitions but declined to stay CAA’s operation.

The apex court heard a batch of 143 petitions on January 22, said that pleas concerning Tripura and Assam, as well as matters related to Uttar Pradesh, which is going to implement CAA without framing any rules, can be dealt with separately.

The court, however, did not pass any order on the issue of referring the pleas against the measures to a larger bench, but showed strong inclination to do that. It is likely to take a decision in this regard in the next hearing.

The Supreme Court asked the High Courts not to entertain any plea on CAA until the apex court finished deciding the matter before it.

The central law, which has provoked weeks of protests throughout the country, gives persecuted minorities except for Muslims, from three neighbouring countries – Afghanistan, Pakistan and Bangladesh– the right to apply for citizenship.

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