Assam lawyers threaten to move SC over citizen bill

Memorandum submitted to President Ram Nath Kovind, demanding scrapping of the bill

  • Published 12.01.19, 12:22 AM
  • Updated 12.01.19, 12:36 PM
  • a min read
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Members of the All Assam Lawyers’ Association in Guwahati on Friday. Picture by UB Photos

Lawyers across Assam staged sit-ins on Friday against the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2019, and threatened to move the Supreme Court if it becomes a law.

The lawyers, who protested under the banner of the All Assam Lawyers’ Association (AALA), said the bill was “unconstitutional”.

Lawyers’ Association Guwahati (LAG) president Biraj Kumar Choudhury said if the bill is enacted, they will challenge it in Supreme Court as the bill violates provisions of the Constitution.

Members of LAG, a constituent of AALA, protested on the campus of the chief judicial magistrate’s court, Kamrup (metro), here from 11am till 1pm.

Choudhury, who is also an executive member of AALA, said the bill also violates the 1985 Assam Accord and makes the NRC update redundant.

He said Section 6 (A) was included as an amendment to the Citizenship Act, 1955, after the Assam Accord was signed to give citizenship to all illegal migrants from Bangladesh who came to Assam till the midnight of March 24, 1971. The cut-off date for the rest of the country is July 19, 1948.

“Since Assam has already taken the burden of illegal migrants who entered the state till March 24, 1971, there cannot be any justification for it to accommodate any more illegal migrants,” he said.

Choudhury also pointed out that the Assam Sanmilita Mahasangha, a confederation of indigenous people of the state, has challenged Section 6 (A) in the Supreme Court and the matter is currently sub judice. “When such a crucial matter is sub judice in the apex court, it was inappropriate on the part of the central government to take the initiative to pass the constitutional (amendment) bill in Parliament,” he said.

Members of Gauhati High Court Bar Association protested on the high court premises and took out a rally to the office of the Kamrup (metro) deputy commissioner. They submitted a memorandum to President Ram Nath Kovind through the deputy commissioner, demanding scrapping of the bill.

Lawyers’ associations of Tinsukia, Golaghat and Dibrugarh also took out rallies against the bill.