Final SC hearing on Sec 6A of Citizenship Act on December 13, Legal News, ET LegalWorld – Legal Firms

GUWAHATI: The five-judge Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court’s has posted to December 13 the final hearing of petitions challenging the constitutional validity of Sec 6A of the Citizenship Act, which was inserted in 1985 in conformity with the Assam Accord, and gave a new cut-off date for detection of foreigners in Assam different from the rest of India.

The petitions were filed in 2012 by Assam Sanmilta Mahasangha represented by its working president Matiur Rahman, now banned National Democratic Front of Boroland represented by its general secretary Gobinda Basuamatary, who is now an MLA of BJP’s ally, UPPL, Indigenous Tribal People’s Federation represented by its president Rana Prasad Deuri and All Assam Bhojpuri Parishad represented Parsuram Dubey. The five-judge bench comprises justices DY Chandrachud, MR Shah, Krishna Murari, Hima Kohli and PS Narasimha.

Assam Sanmilita Mahasangha, the principal petitioner, had challenged Section 6A of the Citizenship Act in 2012 on the grounds that this section was discriminatory, illogical and unlawful as it provided a new cut-off date for detecting an illegal migrant who entered Assam and was different from the one applicable for the rest of India. In 2014, a SC bench of justices Rohinton Fali Nariman and Ranjan Gogoi had referred the matter to a Constitution Bench. The Constitution Bench was formed in April 2017, but most of the judges in the said Bench have retired following which Chief Justice UU Lalit has now constituted the present Bench.

The tripartite Assam Accord was signed between the Centre, the Assam government and the All Assam Students Union after a six-year-long anti-foreigners’ movement on August 15, 1985 under which January 1, 1966 was fixed as the cut-off date for detection of foreigners. People who had entered Assam from Bangladesh before this cut-off date and those whose names appeared on the electoral rolls used in the 1967 Lok Sabha were to be regularised as Indian nationals.

People who came between this and March 24, 1971 were to be detected as per the provisions of the Foreigners Act, 1946 and the Foreigners (Tribunals) Order, 1964. This category of people would have all rights, except voting rights, for 10 years.

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