A Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court, on January 10, framed the preliminary issue in the matter concerning the constitutional validity of Section 6A of the Citizenship Act inserted by way of an amendment in 1985 in furtherance of the Assam Accord. The bench noted that the issue - "Whether Section 6A of the Citizenship Act suffers from any constitutional infirmity?" covered all other issues that arose in the matter.
The matter was listed before a bench comprising Chief Justice D.Y. Chandrachud and Justices M.R. Shah, Krishna Murari, Hima Kohli, and P.S. Narasimha.
Section 6A of the Citizenship Act 1955 deals with the special provisions as to the citizenship of persons covered by the Assam Accord.
The provision states that all those who came to Assam on or after January 1, 1966, and before March 25, 1971, from the specified territory (including all territories of Bangladesh at the time of commencement of the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 1985), and are residents of Assam since then, must register themselves under Section 18 for citizenship.
The provision was introduced in 1985 when the Assam accord was signed between the Government of India and agitating groups.
Earlier , A five-member Constitution bench of the Supreme Court on January 10 listed the National Register of Citizens (NRC) hearing on February 14.
The development comes after the apex court presided over the hearing of pleas challenging the matter of fixing of base year for NRC on January 10.
The court also directed to gather all arguments relating to the NRC determining the base year for the inclusion of names in the National Register of Citizens.
Earlier, the Supreme Court had also decided to follow a plan for determining the base year for NRC name inclusion. Section 6A of the Citizenship Act, which was added in 1985 as a result of an amendment in support of the Assam Accord, had been the subject of arguments in the Supreme Court challenging its constitutionality.
According to the provision, individuals who arrived in Assam on or after January 1, 1966, but before March 25, 1971, from certain territories—including Bangladesh in 1985—and have since become residents of Assam are required to register for citizenship under Section 18.
As a result, the deadline for granting citizenship to Bangladeshi migrants in Assam is set at March 25, 1971.
Section 6A's opponents have argued that the provision is discriminatory because it was specifically enacted to safeguard Bangladeshi trespassers from Assam.
The petitioners have requested that the National Register of Citizens in Assam be updated using 1951 as the base year and that Section 6A be struck down as ultra vires.
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