UN Rights Chief Moves SC Over CAA; India Criticises Move

Protest against CAA in India – File Pic

NEW DELHI – The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights has filed a petition in the Supreme Court against the citizenship amendment law, in an unprecedented move which was sharply criticised by India.

External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said the Citizenship Amendment Act is an internal matter of India and that “no foreign party” has any locus standi on issues pertaining to the country’s sovereignty.

India’s Permanent Mission in Geneva was informed on Monday evening by UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet that her office has filed an “intervention application” in the Supreme Court on the amended citizenship law, he said.

The Supreme Court is hearing a batch of pleas challenging the new law.

“The CAA is an internal matter of India and concerns the sovereign right of the Indian Parliament to make laws. We strongly believe that no foreign party has any locus standi on issues pertaining to India’s sovereignty,” Kumar said.

He said the CAA is constitutionally valid and complies with all requirements of its constitutional values.

“It is reflective of our long standing national commitment in respect of human rights issues arising from the tragedy of the Partition of India,” he said.

“India is a democratic country governed by the rule of law. We all have utmost respect for and full trust in our independent judiciary. We are confident that our sound and legally sustainable position will be vindicated by the Supreme Court,” the MEA spokesperson said.

When asked whether OHCHR can approach the Supreme Court, an official familiar with the matter said it was for the apex court to decide.

India witnessed massive protests in the last two months over the new law with the opposition parties and rights groups terming it as violative of founding principles of Indian Constitution.

Rejecting the criticism, the government has been accusing the opposition parties of misleading people on the law for political gains.

The CAA, which was notified on January 10, grants Indian citizenship to non-Muslim minorities — Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, Parsi and Christian — who migrated to India from Afghanistan, Pakistan and Bangladesh till December 31, 2014, following persecution over their faith.

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