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Case Reviews, The Law

Assam Public Works Vs. Union of India (2020)

CASE NOTE: Citizenship Act, 1955 – Eight Interlocutory Applications (IAs) in Supreme Court based on Writ Petition 274/2009 –Six seeking appropriate directions, one seeking clarification and one seeking time extension – Assam NRC – Whether children of parents with NRC application pending are to be separated and sent to detention – Four weeks’ extension sought by Attorney General granted – State directed to respond to IAs within four weeks.

By: Rajrishi Ramaswamy, Second Year B.B.A. LLB, Symbiosis Law School, Hyderabad.

Bench: CJI Sharad Arvind Bobde, J. B.R. Gavai and J. Surya Kant.

Counsels: Petitioners: 55 Advocates including Mr. Kapil Sibal, Sr. Adv. Fuzail Ahmad Ayyubi, etc.

Respondents: Mr. K.K. Venugopal, AGI

Background of case

The National Register of Citizens is exclusive to the State of Assam and was created to differentiate and deport illegal migrants from regular citizens. It was updated in 2013 after nearly 40 years. The updating process was monitored by a Division Bench of the Supreme Court consisting of (former) CJI Ranjan Gogoi and Justice Rohinton Nariman, through Assam Public Works vs. Union of India. Since the initial judgement, the Court had dealt with various questions on citizenship, descendance, inclusion of certain people in the NCR, etc. These questions were presented to the Court through several Interlocutory Applications. This hearing, on 6th January, 2020, was of eight IAs which were heard by the Court through about 55 Counsels for the involved parties. It was also the most recent hearing in connection with this case.

Issue

Whether children whose parents’ application for NRC are pending can be separated from their parents and sent to detention camps.

Order of the Court

It was the Attorney General of India, Shri K.K. Venugopal who had stated that such children were not to be separated from their parents and sent to detention camps. The Court agreed with the statement made by the Attorney General. The Government then sought four weeks’ time to answer to the IAs. The Court granted the extension to answer to all the eight IAs which were heard by it on this hearing on 6th January, 2020.

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