NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Wednesday sought the Centre’s response to PILs challenging validity of its decision to exclude six districts of Assam from interline permit system, applicable to tribal areas of Assam, Meghalaya, Mizoram and Tripura to prevent settlement of illegal immigrants, and thereby making Citizenship Amendment Act applicable to these districts.
A bench comprising Chief Justice S A Bobde and Justices A S Bopanna and Hrishikesh Roy agreed with senior advocate Vikas Singh that the matter required consideration but refused to grant interim stay on the President’s order of December 12 last yer excluding the districts from interline permit system. “We cannot grant ex-parte stay. Let the Union government file response in two weeks,” the bench said.
Appearing for petitioners – All Tai Ahom Students Union and Assam JatiyataBadi Yuva Chatra Prashad, Singh said on December 11 last year the government published Adaptation of laws (Amendment) Order which modified Bengal Eastern Frontier Regulation, 1873 to take out from latter’s purview the districts of Kamrup, Daring, Nowgong, Sibsagar, Lakhimpur and Cachar, so as to make inapplicable the interline permit system enforced in tribal areas of N-E states.
A day later on December 12, the President gave assent to Citizenship Amendment Act, 2019 and excluded its enforcement in tribal areas of Assam, Meghalaya, Mizoram or Tripura, being areas where interline permit system was in force.
Referring to the illegal migrant problem in Assam, the petitioners said, “Bengal Eastern Frontier Regulation, 1873, could have been the answer to tackle the problems of illegal immigrants which Assam and its citizens are facing today. First of all, none of the illegal immigrants in Assam could have got citizenship under CAA. Further, even if those illegal immigrants would have moved toothed states to claim citizenship, they could have been restricted or cross-checked…”
SC has admitted several PILs challenging the validity of CAA but kept in mind the peculiar fact situation in Assam by seggregating petitions pertaining to Assam illegal migrant issue linked with CAA as a separate category of petitions.

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