UN Human Rights Council approached the Supreme Court over the Citizenship Amendment Act
The Citizenship Amendment Act, or CAA, is an internal matter and no foreign party has any standing on issues pertaining to India's sovereignty, the Ministry of External Affairs has said, after it emerged that the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) had filed an intervention plea with the Supreme Court today. The plea asks the court to make the UNHRC a party in the case against the CAA that is being heard by the top court.
"The Citizenship Amendment Act 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," the ministry said in a sharply-worded response.
The MEA response went on to assert that the CAA, pushed through parliament in December last year amid massive nationwide protests, was "constitutionally valid" and complied with all requirements of "our 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," the ministry said.
Shortly after the CAA was passed by parliament the United Nations expressed its concern over a law that was "fundamentally discriminatory in nature".
A spokesperson for the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), said the amendments to a 1955 law would "have a discriminatory effect on people's access to nationality".
The spokesperson also said: "All migrants, regardless of their migration status, are entitled to respect, protection and fulfilment of their human rights".
The CAA has sparked widespread and sustained protests across the country, with the peaceful and weeks-long sit-in in Delhi's Shaheen Bagh area becoming the epicentre.
The law, which makes religion a criterion for Indian citizenship, says non-Muslim minorities from Muslim-majority countries like Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan can become citizens if they fled religious persecution and entered India before December 31, 2014.
However, critics say the CAA, with the NRC or citizen's list, will be used to target Muslims.