New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Thursday expressed concern on the violence, which has erupted in the protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA).
A bench, headed by Chief Justice S.A. Bobde and comprising Justices B.R. Gavai and Surya Kant, said: “The country going through difficult times. Endeavour should be for peace. Such petitions don’t help. As it is, there is lot of trouble.”
The court’s observation came on the mentioning of a petition filed by advocate Vineet Dhanda seeking the listing of his plea to declare CAA constitutional.
Dhanda moved the apex court to defend the constitutionality of CAA, and also sought action against activists, students, and media houses spreading “false rumours”. He also sought a direction from the court against the rioters.
The court said that they will hear this petition after violence stops. “Let violence end,” it said.
Putting a query to the lawyer, the court said: “Who wants CAA to be declared ‘constitutional’, and how can this court declare that an Act passed by the Parliament is constitutional?”
Observing that there is always “a presumption of constitutionality, and being a student of law, you should know”, it said that it was unusual to hear somebody seeking a declaration from the court that an Act is constitutional.
The bench said that the job of the court is to determine validity of a law and it is not its job to declare it constitutional as it refused to grant urgent hearing in the matter.
The plea sought direction to declare Citizenship Amendment Act constitutional and also to the Election Commission to identify and take stern action against political parties spreading rumours and violence in the country.
A total of 59 petitions have been filed in the top court challenging this law. The top court will begin hearing the petitions from January 22.
On December 18, the bench of Chief Justice Bobde and Justices Gavai and Surya Kant refused to grant a stay on the operation of the law and listed the matter for further hearing in January. The court issued also notice to the Centre.
Dhanda, in the plea, said: “That the Petitioner is filing the present Public Interest Litigation as a concerned citizen over the loss of precious lives and damage to public property across the country especially in the cities of Delhi, Ahmedabad and states of Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Haryana, Rajasthan, Gujarat, Assam and other parts of our country.”
He sought a direction to the Centre and state governments to publicise the law saying “it is not against the spirit of the Constitution of India and in no sense against any citizen of India”.