The Supreme Court is likely to hear the various pleas challenging the constitutionality of the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA) 2019 on Wednesday, December 18..Senior Counsel Abhishek Manu Singhvi today sought an urgent hearing on the separate petitions filed on the issue by the Indian National Congress and the erstwhile Maharajah of Tripura, Pradyot Deb Burman and mentioned the same before the Supreme Court this morning..The Bench headed by Chief Justice of India SA Bobde and comprising Justices BR Gavai and Surya Kant, however, hinted that the petitions relating to the CAA are likely to be taken up by the Court on Wednesday..Journalist and political activist, Burman had approached the Court challenging the constitutionality of the CAA, contending that the controversial Amendment is in the teeth of the guarantees of the Assam Accord, 1985, which had been introduced to control the the influx of foreign nationals into Assam and fears over its adverse effects upon the political, social, cultural and economic life of the state. The thrust of Burman’s plea is that the Act grossly violates the guarantees incorporated in the Assam Accord “to detect, delete and expel foreigners entering Assam after 24.03.1971”. Burman goes on to contend,.“ This seriously jeopardises the basic cultural, social and linguistic rights of the Assamese people guaranteed under Articles 14, 21 and 29 (1) of the Constitution.“.Senior Counsel Kapil Sibal, who was also in the Courtroom today, purportedly seeking an urgent hearing for another similar petition on CAA, told the Court that the listing of cases does not reflect listing of petitions on CAA for Wednesday. The Court, however, said that the CAA cases will be taken up on Wednesday, thus allowing mentioning for urgent hearing by several other parties also..[Read more on the other petitions filed in the matter]Citizenship Amendment Bill, 2019 explicitly discriminates against Muslims: IUML, 4 MPs move challenge in Supreme CourtTMC MP, Mahua Moitra moves Supreme Court against Citizenship Amendment Act, 2019Citizenship Amendment Act, 2019: Volley of PILs filed in Supreme Court challenging ConstitutionalityLok Sabha MPs, Asaduddin Owaisi, TN Prathapan file PILs challenging Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2019.In the meanwhile, two more petitions have been filed in the matter, one by the Makkal Needhi Maiam (MNM), a political party lead by actor-turned-politician, Kamal Hassan, and another by Padi Richo, former MLA and a resident of Arunachal Pradesh..Both petitions reiterate concerns raised by other PILs challenging the legislation, that the exclusion of Muslim beneficiaries from the purview of the Citizenship Amendment Act is violative of Articles 14 (right to equality) and 21 (right to life and personal liberty), apart from contravening basic principles of secularism..In this regard, MNM’s petition, filed by Advocate T Harish Kumar, states, inter alia, .“… the classification based on the religious identity of the individual offends the fundamental principle of ‘Secularism’, which is enshrined as basic structure of the Constitution of India. The classification of the illegal migrants who are entitled to naturalization as per the Act is also selective and arbitrary as it is restricted only to migrants into India on account of religious persecution from three countries, viz; Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afganistan for which there is no basis and also excludes refugees from other countries such as SriLanka, Myanmar, etc.“.This petition has been drawn by Advocates MV Bhaskar, Prashant Padmanabhan and Navneet Dugar..In Padi Richo’s petition, filed through Advocate Abhimanyu Tewari, similar concerns are raised in the following, among other, submissions..” .. the impugned Act is manifestly arbitrary, inasmuch as the classification of the countries from which the communities have been chosen to extend the benefit of the impugned Act is without any discernible or justifiable reason … a secular state requires that the Government does not discriminate against a group of people merely due to their religion, and conferment of rights or privileges ought to not depend upon the religious identity of a person.”.This apart, Richo’s plea also registers protest to the Citizenship Amendment Act’s likely effect to ease the situation for illegal migrants in North-Eastern states in India..“… the North Eastern States uniquely affected by the impugned Act, as a disproportionate burden of the consequence of the legalisation of illegal immigrants into India, shall be faced by the states in the North-East”, the petition states. Further it is argued,.“Article 335 casts a duty upon the Union of India to undertake all measures to protect the State of Assam from all external aggression and internal disturbance, as enjoined in Article 355 of the Constitution … the impugned Act does not provide adequate safeguards to the communities in the areas most affected by the illegal immigration of minorities … the North Eastern States have had to bear the brunt of the illegal immigration over the past decades, owing to porous borders, and failure of the Government to provide adequate measures to restrict the inflow of illegal immigrants. It is submitted that the failure of the Government to fulfill its duty under Article 355 of the Constitution cannot be colorably bypassed by way of the impugned Bill.“.In the backdrop, Richo goes on to contend that,.“… the impugned Act is violative of the Assam accord inasmuch as it seeks to legalise illegal migration into the State after the cutoff date, and is therefore violative of the duty cast upon the Government to prevent ‘aggression’ as per Article 355.” .Two days after the Citizenship Amendment Bill 2019 received assent in the Lok Sabha, the Rajya Sabha has also signed off on the legislation on December 11. A day later, the first challenge to the controversial legislation was mounted by the Indian Union of Muslim league along with Members of Parliament PK Kunhalikutty, ET Mohammed Basheer, Abdul Wahab and K Navas Kani. At this stage, the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2019 was yet to received Presidential assent..Hours after it was signed off by the President, a battery of PILs were filed challenging the Citizenship Amendment Act, 2019. The petitioners who have approached the top Court on the issue from various quarters include TMC MP Mahua Moitra; Pradyot Deb Burman; the All Assam Students Union, INC MP Jairam Ramesh; various public servants including former High Commissioner Deb Mukherjee and former IAS officers, Somasundar Burra and Amitabha Pande; Assam MLAs Debabrata Saikia (Leader of Opposition) and Rupjyoti Kurmi along with Abdul Khaleque, a Loksabha MP from Assam; RihaiManch and Citizens Against Hate; Fazil Ahmed of the Jan Adhikar Party; the Peace Party; Advocate Ehtesham Hasmi; Lok Sabha MP Asaduddin Owaisi and Lok Sabha MP TN Prathapan..[Read the Petition by Pradyot Deb Burman].[Read the petition filed by MNM].[Read he petition filed by Padi Richo].Bar & Bench is available on WhatsApp. For real-time updates on stories, Click here to subscribe to our WhatsApp.