United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) Michelle Bachelet filed an injunction application against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) in the Indian Supreme Court on Tuesday, the Indian Ministry for External Affairs said.
The UN petition came in the wake of ongoing demonstrations against India’s CAA, which was implemented last year in December. Last week’s protests took took a terrible turn in Delhi, where over 40 people in different parts of the city were killed in communal violence.
“Our Permanent Mission in Geneva was informed yesterday evening by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights that her office had filed an Intervention Application in the Supreme Court of India in respect to CAA,” India’s External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said in a statement.
In his reply to the letter, Kumar said that the law on citizenship is an internal matter for India “and involves the Indian Parliament’s sovereign right to make laws.”
He further said the Indian government “strongly believes” that no foreign party has the capacity to call for action on India’s sovereignty-related matters.
He further claimed that the CAA fulfills all the requirements of the constitution of India and is thus constitutionally valid. “It represents our longstanding national commitment to human rights issues emanating from the Partition of India tragedy,” he said.
“India is a democratic country governed by the rule of law,” the spokesperson said while adding that the country has “utmost respect for and full trust in our independent judiciary.”
He said the government is sure that the Indian Supreme Court will prove right to its “sound and legally viable” position.
Bachelet also expressed concern over the inaction of the police during the communal violence in the Indian capital last week. Then the Indian government had also said that India’s CAA was an internal affair.
Last year, at the Geneva council’s 42nd session, Bachelet expressed her “deep concern” after India launched its clampdown in occupied Kashmir.
India’s attempt to annex Jammu & Kashmir by revoking the region’s special status and enforcing a communications and travel lockout was also strongly criticized by independent UN experts who called it “collective punishment” for the population as a whole.