New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Wednesday granted the Centre four weeks' time to file a reply on the petitions regarding the Citizenship (Amendment) Act and indicated the setting up of a Constitution Bench to hear the pleas.

The top court did not put a stay on the newly enacted law, as demanded by some petitions. A bench of Chief Justice of India, SA Bobde, Justices S Abdul Nazeer and Sanjiv Khanna passed the order while hearing more than 140 petitions challenging or supporting the newly amended citizenship law.

The law fast-tracks the process of granting citizenship to Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christians who fled religious persecution in Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan and took refuge in India on or before December 31, 2014.

During the course of hearing, Chief Justice Bobde said, "We may ask the government to issue some temporary permits for the time being."

Attorney General KK Venugopal asked the apex court to freeze filing of further petitions, as over 140 petitions have been filed and others who wish to be heard, may file intervention applications.

"Centre has prepared a preliminary affidavit that will be filed today," he further said.

Senior advocate Vikas Singh, appearing for the Assam Advocates Association, sought an ex-parte order from the court with respect to the implementation of the Act in Assam. He told the court, "The situation in Assam is different. 40,000 people have already entered Assam since the last hearing."

Several petitions were filed in the top court and high courts across the country for and against the CAA. There have been protests in different parts of the country against the Act. It has also been challenged by the Kerala government in the Supreme Court.

Kerala and West Bengal have also said that they will not implement the amended law. However, Congress leaders Kapil Sibal and Salman Khurshid have said that state governments cannot legally refuse to implement a law passed by parliament.