New Delhi: The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights has approached the Supreme Court and urged intervention in the hearing on the amended Citizenship Act (CAA). However, India has sharply criticized the OHCHR move, saying that the CAA is an internal matter of India and there is no jurisdiction of ‘any foreign party’ on the issue of sovereignty of the country. The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) has stated that ‘international human rights law, norms and standards’ also need to be considered at the hearing.
The petition has been filed on behalf of UN Human Rights High Commissioner Michelle Bashlet Jeria. This application states that she intends to intervene in the matter as an amicus curiae (third party) on the basis of the mandate given to protect and promote human rights and to make necessary advocacy in that regard. The OHCHR welcomed the ‘declared purpose’ of the CAA to ‘protect some people from persecution on religious grounds’, but raised the issue of excluding various sects of abused Muslims from the purview of this law.
The application states, “In irregular circumstances, the CAA could benefit thousands of immigrants, including refugees who might have had trouble avoiding lawsuits in their country of origin and action by obtaining citizenship.” This is a laudable purpose. ‘ It states, ‘But there is a religious minority in those countries, especially those belonging to the Muslim community, such as Ahmadiyya, Hazara and Shia Muslims, whose circumstances are such that they also need to be protected on an equal basis, based on which others in the CAA Has been protected. ‘ The Supreme Court had sought its response from the Central Government on December 18, 2019 on all the petitions challenging the constitutional validity of the CAA.
The OHCHR states that the CAA has raised an important issue regarding international human rights law and its applicability to other immigrants, including refugees. India has sharply criticized the OHCHR move saying that CAA is India’s internal matter. Foreign Ministry spokesman Ravish Kumar said that the CAA is an internal matter of India and there is no jurisdiction of “any foreign party” on the issue related to sovereignty of the country.
He said that the permanent mission of India to Geneva was informed by United Nations Human Rights Organization High Commissioner Michel Beschlet on Monday evening that his office has applied to the Supreme Court on the CAA seeking permission to intervene. Kumar said, ‘CAA is an internal matter of India and is connected with the sovereign right of the Indian Parliament to make laws. We clearly believe that no foreign party has any jurisdiction over India’s sovereignty. ” He said that the CAA is constitutionally valid and includes all constitutional values.