New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Wednesday declined to stay the Citizenship Amendment Act but told the government to respond to petitions that have attacked the amended Citizenship Act on grounds that it violates the Constitution at the first hearing on petitions challenging the law. The court will hear the case next on January 22. At the hearing, senior lawyer Kapil Sibal represented the petitioners and argued that the law should not be implemented as the rules have not been notified to which the Attorney General KK Venugopal opposed the stay. Nearly 60 petitions have piled up at the Supreme Court over the last week after Parliament passed made changes to the law to provide for a special dispensation to grant citizenship to religious minorities from three Islamic countries: Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan. The law allows undocumented migrants from six communities - Hindus, Buddhists, Sikhs, Christians, Parsis, and Jains - to stay in India and get citizenship if they claim religious persecution. This special provision is valid for people who entered the country before December 31, 2014. The petitions have broadly challenged the law on the ground that the law discriminates against people on grounds of religion and privileges religious persecution of only specific religions.
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