The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet has filed an intervention application in the Supreme Court over the Citizenship Amendment Act, the Ministry of External Affairs said on Tuesday.
Foreign ministry spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said the citizenship law is an internal matter of India, adding that it 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,” he added.
Kumar maintained that the amended citizenship law is constitutionally valid and complies with all requirements of the country’s 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 spokesperson 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 would be vindicated by the Hon’ble Supreme Court.”
On February 27, Bachelet had expressed “great concern” over the Citizenship Amendment Act and reports of police inaction during the violence in Delhi. Large scale communal violence in North East Delhi last week has claimed 47 lives and injured over 200 people. It had started with clashes between supporters of the Act and those who opposed it.
Protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act are continuing across the country, more than a month after it was passed in Parliament. The amendments, notified on January 10, provide citizenship to refugees from six minority religious communities from Bangladesh, Afghanistan and Pakistan, provided they have lived in India for six years and entered the country by December 31, 2014. The Act has been widely criticised for excluding Muslims.