Guwahati: The Supreme Court on Monday announced that it will postpone until December 5 the hearing of pleas challenging the constitutionality of Section 6A of the Citizenship Act, which was introduced in 1985 as part of the Assam Accord.
A bench led by Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud granted the deferral after Solicitor General of India Tushar Mehta and other senior counsels from the petitioners’ side requested the adjournment.
Mehta informed the bench that the case, scheduled for hearing on Tuesday, coincides with the last working week before Diwali and that the counsel had just emerged from another Constitution bench hearing.
“Therefore, we need some time,” Mehta pleaded.
The apex court subsequently scheduled the five-judge Constitution bench matter for hearing on December 5.
The Constitution bench, also comprising Justices AS Bopanna, MM Sundresh, JB Pardiwala, and Manoj Misra, was originally slated to hear the case on November 7.
During the previous hearing, the apex court had directed that the proceedings be titled “In Re: Section 6A of the Citizenship Act, 1955.”
The matter relating to citizenship in Assam was referred to the five-judge Constitution bench on December 17, 2014. The top court constituted the bench to hear the case on April 19, 2017.
The National Register of Citizens (NRC), a list of Indian citizens containing all necessary information for their identification, was first formulated following the 1951 national census.
The Assam NRC aims to identify illegal immigrants in the state who migrated from Bangladesh after March 25, 1971.
In 1985, the Indian government and representatives of the Assam Movement negotiated and drafted the Assam Accord, which created categories of immigrants.
The NRC exercise in Assam was carried out under Section 6A of the Citizenship Act 1955 and the rules framed in the Assam Accord 1985.
Section 6A of the Act was introduced to give effect to the Assam Accord. It provides the framework to recognize migrants in Assam as Indian citizens or to expel them based on the date of their migration.
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