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Supreme Court posts pleas challenging validity of Citizenship Act's Section 6A to January 10, 2023

02:42 PM Dec 13, 2022 IST | India Legal
supreme court posts pleas challenging validity of citizenship act s section 6a to january 10  2023

The Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court has today posted the pleas that challenged the constitutional validity of Section 6A of the Citizenship Act, as inserted by an amendment in 1985 in furtherance of the Assam Accord, for directions to January 10, 2023.

The 5-Judge Constitution Bench comprising Chief Justice D.Y. Chandrachud, Justice M.R. Shah, Justice Krishna Murari, Justice Hima Kohli and Justice P.S. Narasimha heard the issue.

In the beginning of the hearing, Senior Advocate Kapil Sibal apprised the bench that both the parties have agreed to sit together and identify the issues which were to be segregated and heard in the case.


As per the bench it has now been agreed between the Attorney General and the Solicitor General on one hand and Kapil Sibal, Senior Advocate Dushyant Dave and Senior Advocate Indira Jaising for segregating the cases which fall for decision before this court into distinct categories and the order in which the arguments are to be made.

SG Tushar Mehta requested the bench to direct the registry for giving a soft copy of all petitions to all the counsels which has been accepted.


A counsel on behalf of the State of Arunachal Pradesh has sought impleadment in the matter to argue on the issue of the citizenship of Chakma refugee.


CJI Chandrachud said he shall be given a chance where he can mention the matters but right now they want to focus on current matter.


The CJI said, ‘Let us hear the main matter first. When matter opens, you can submit and we will hear you.’ The matter is now listed for directions on January 10, 2023.

The Section 6A in the Citizenship Act, 1955 has provisions with respect to citizenship of persons covered by the Assam Accord (1985).


It says that all those who came to Assam on or after January 1, 1966, but before March 25, 1971 from the specified territory (it includes all territories of Bangladesh at the time of commencement of the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 1985), and since then are residents of Assam, must register themselves under Section 18 for citizenship. Therefore, this Act sets March 25, 1971 as the cut-off date.

From 1979 to 1985 huge political instability, collapse of state government was witnessed in Assam and then to cope with the situation, the Rajiv Gandhi government signed a Memorandum of Settlement (MoS) with the leaders of the movement on August 15, 1985, which is known as the Assam Accord.

Under this accord:

  • All foreigners who had entered Assam between 1951 and 1961 were to be given full citizenship including the right to vote.
  • Migrants those who had done so after 1971 were to be deported.
  • Those who entered between 1961 and 1971 were to be denied voting rights for 10 years but would enjoy all other rights of citizenship.

For the last many years, several petitions have been filed in the Apex Court against the constitutional validity of Section 6A in the Citizenship Act.

The reason for this is that the new rule was in contrast to Article 6 of the Constitution, according to which the cut-off for determining citizenship in India was July 19, 1948.

Many groups from Assam such as Assam Sanmilita Mahasangha, Asam Sahitya Sabha, Assam Public Works and All Assam Ahom challenged Section 6A, citing that the section is leading to discrimination in grant of citizenship to migrants in the country.

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