The Supreme Court on Monday took serious note of rioting and destruction of public property during protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act across the country and said that “violence must stop immediately”.
The top court said it, prima facie, does not think court can do much in the matter as it is a law and order problem and police forces have to control it.
The apex court, which agreed to hear on Tuesday pleas alleging police atrocities on students holding protests against the Act at Aligarh Muslim University and Jamia Millia Islamia here, said it will not hear this issue in such an atmosphere of violence.
A bench headed by Chief Justice S A Bobde said, “We are not here to blame anybody. All we are saying is that this violence must stop.”
“If protests and violence and damage of public property will be there, we will not hear the matter,” it added.
The bench, also comprising Justices B R Gavai and Surya Kant, made the observations after a group of lawyers led by senior advocate Indira Jaising and Colin Gonsalves urged it to take suo motu cognisance of the alleged violence unleashed against protesting students.
“We will determine everything but not in this atmosphere of violence. What is this? Public properties are being destroyed, buses are being burnt,” the bench said.
When the advocates insisted that the court must take cognisance of the issue, the CJI said, “We are not to be bullied like this.
If you want the court to hear the matter then this violence has to stop.”
The bench said, “Prima facie, we do not see that court can do much about it. It is a law and order problem and police has to control the situation.”
The Supreme Court on Monday also said that it will hear on December 18 pleas of the Congress and former Maharaja of Tripura Pradyot Kishor Deb Barman challenging the constitutional validity of the Citizenship (Amendment) Act.
A bench headed by Chief Justice Bobde said it will hear the pleas along with other pending matters coming up for hearing on December 18.
Senior advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi mentioned for urgent listing the two pleas and said they should also be heard along with a similar plea filed by the Indian Union Muslim League that is coming up for hearing on Wednesday.
Several petitions, including those by Congress MP Jairam Ramesh and Trinamool Congress MP Mahua Moitra have been filed in the Supreme Court challenging the constitutional validity of the Citizenship (Amendment) Act 2019.
According to the amended Act, members of Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, Parsi and Christian communities who have come from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan till December 31, 2014 and face religious persecution there will not be treated as illegal immigrants but given Indian citizenship.
Several other petitioners including All Assam Students Union, Peace Party, NGOs ‘Rihai Manch’ and Citizens Against Hate, advocate M L Sharma, law students have also approached the apex court challenging the Act.