Contempt of Court sought against Amit Shah for statements on NRC, Citizenship Amendment Bill

Murali Krishnan May 10 2019

An intervention application has been filed in Supreme Court in the Assam NRC seeking action against BJP President Amit Shah for his statements on NRC and Citizenship Act (Amendment) Bill, 2016.

The petition has been filed by Assam Andolan Sangrami Manch, an organisation founded in 2015 which opposes the Citizenship Amendment Bill 2016 and seeks to protect the language, culture and heritage of indigenous people of Assam.

The organisation believes that the amendment of Citizenship Act, 1955 to allow illegally migrated Hindus, Sikh, Christians and Jains from Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh to be citizens will affect the interests of indigenous people of Assam.

Towards this end, the petitioner had registered its protest against the Amendment Bill by submitting memorandum to the Prime Minister and giving representations to the President, Home Minister, Assam Governor and Joint Parliamentary Committee.

The petitioner states the present backwardness of Assam is due to the influx of foreigners which has reduced the growth rate of Assam and aggravated economic problems and unemployment.

It, therefore, lauds the Supreme Court for commencing the NRC process which as per its application “is a ray of hope” for the people of Assam.

“..it is solely because of the effort of this Hon’ble Court the NRC is getting updated and no one else can be given any credit for the ongoing process of updating and publishing of NRC”

The immediate grievance of the petitioner stems from the statements made by BJP President Amit Shah in this context.

The application states that Amit Shah told at various elections rallies and press conferences in west Bengal that the Citizenship Amendment Bill will come first and then the NRC. This statement that Citizenship Amendment Bill will come first and then the NRC so that “Hindu infiltrators could be incorporated in the NRC by giving them citizenship has left the people of Assam shocked, surprised and scared.”

This statement has given a colour of religion in the process of updating NRC. It has given a wrong message to the people of Assam and is an onslaught on the judicial process of this Hon’ble Court.

The applicant further submits that the statements made by Amit Shah in Assam were such that it portrayed as if NRC was brought by the BJP.

“The general public of Assam is confused by such statements as everyone was under the hope….that the entire process is being carried out under the strict observations of this Hon’ble Court."

Amit Shah is creating doubt and confusion over the process of updating NRC by misleading statements, the application states.

The applicant society contends that the BJP President is deliberately doing the same for electoral gains.

Stating that it was appropriate for the applicant to bring the conduct of Shah to the notice of the Court, the application prays that appropriate action be taken against the BJP President if the statements of Shah are found to be contemptuous in nature.

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