Supreme Court to give directions on pleas challenging Assam Accord in January

The Supreme Court may also decide the issue concerning the citizenship of the children of illegal Chakma migrants in Arunachal Pradesh.


TODAY, the Supreme Court bench of Chief Justice of India (‘CJI’) Dr. D.Y. Chandrachud and Justices M.R Shah, Krishna Murari, Hima Kohli and P.S Narasimha continued hearing the pleas challenging the constitutional validity of Section 6A of the Citizenship Act, 1955 in Assam Public Works versus Union of India & Ors.

Section 6A was inserted through an amendment in the Act in 1985. The amendment inserted a special provision as to the citizenship of persons covered by the Assam Accord.

Senior advocate Kabil Sibal informed the court that the counsels for the petitioner and of the other contesting parties, and the Attorney General for India, R. Venkataramani will meet and identify the issues that would arise for a decision.

The bench, through the CJI, expressed concern about the numerous issues that have been raised before the court. That is why Sibal suggested that they will first segregate various issues and then approach the court for formal directions. But then, senior advocate Dushyant Dave suggested that the constitutionality of section 6A can be taken up as the preliminary issue. On the other hand, senior advocate Indira Jaising told the bench that the primary issue must be whether those people who acquired citizenship 40 years ago can be denied that now.

Partly concurring with Jaising’s suggestion, Dave emphasised that the preliminary issue must be related to the challenges to section 6A. He reasoned that all other issues are nothing but challenges to the different facets of section 6A.

At this juncture, a counsel on behalf of the Arunachal Pradesh government raised a concern regarding Section 3 of the Citizenship Act on the issue of the grant of citizenship to the children of illegal Chakma migrants. The counsel sought impleadment in the matter. The Solicitor General of India, Tushar Mehta intervened and said that this issue does not relate to the challenges to section 6A. However, the bench said that they will hear the issue once preliminary issues are heard.

Mehta’s request that the registry should give a soft copy of all petitions to the counsels was granted. The court is set to give directions on the preliminary issues to be heard on January 10, 2023.

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