‘Respect sovereign processes’: LS Speaker Om Birla to EU Parl.against CAA
NEW DELHI : Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla on Monday wrote to European Parliament President David Maria Sassoli over the resolutions moved against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) in that legislature, saying it is inappropriate for one legislature to pass judgement on another and the practice can be misused by vested interests.
The letter to Sassoli comes after 600 lawmakers in the 751-member European Parliament moved six resolutions against the CAA, saying the enactment of the law marked a dangerous shift in India’s citizenship regime.
“I understand that Joint Motion for Resolution has been introduced in the European Parliament on the Indian Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2019. This act provides for easier citizenship to those who have been subjected to religious persecution in our immediate neighbourhood,” Birla said in the letter.
Pointing out that such a resolution would set an “unhealthy precedent”, the Speaker wrote: “It is inappropriate for a legislature to pass judgement on another, a practice that can be surely misused for vested interests”.
The citizenship law, he wrote, has been passed with due deliberation in both houses of parliament. “This Act provides for granting easier citizenship to those who have been subjected to religious persecution in our immediate neighbourhood. It is not aimed at taking away citizenship from anybody,” the letter, addressed to the President of the EU Parliament, read.
“As members of Inter Parliamentary Union, we should respect sovereign processes of fellow legislatures, especially in democracies,” he said. “It is inappropriate for one legislature to pass judgement on another, a practice that can surely be misused by vested interests.”
“I would urge you to consider the proposed resolution in this light, confident that none of us want to set an unhealthy precedent,” he said. The Socialists and Democrats Group in the European Union submitted a resolution calling the CAA “discriminatory” and “dangerously divisive”. It seeks to call upon the Indian government to engage with protesters and listen to their demands to repeal the legislation.
Passed by the 154-member S&D Groups of Members of the EU from 24 countries, the resolution is expected to be debated on January 29, with a vote likely on January 30.
The resolution denounces the fact that religion has become a criteria for the naturalization of a person as Indian citizen. It expresses concerns that the citizenship legislation along with the National Register of Citizens exercise, announced by the Centre to be conducted nationwide, will “render many Muslims citizens stateless.”
Indian authorities are urged to uphold the people’s right to peaceful protest, said the resolution, reminding India of its obligations to many internationally principles that prevent deprivation of citizenship on basis of race, color, descent etc. as given in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.
The lawmakers who drafted the resolution have also condemned the use of “excessive force in the crackdown” on the protests against the CAA and have urged authorities to stop the “criminalisation of protests.”
The controversial citizenship legislation has also been condemned in the US by the State Department and the Congress. Two house resolutions were tabled by two Rep. Rashida and Rep. Pramila Jaypal even though these resolutions are not passed onto the Senate for a vote.
Democratic representatives have also openly expressed their reservations on it. Earlier, the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USIRF) had raised concerns over it even before it was endorsed by the Rajya Sabha.
Besides, 57 member states of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) has also declared that it was “increasingly concerned” by the CAA due to its discrimination of Indian Muslims.
Accusing the government of “discriminating against, harassing and prosecuting national and religious minorities and silencing any opposition, human rights groups… and journalists critical of the government”, the EU lawmakers had asked their Parliament to insist on a “strong human rights clause with an effective implementation and suspension mechanism” during any trade agreement.
The resolutions are likely to be tabled during the session of the European Parliament that starts next week in Brussels. PM Modi is expected to visit Brussels in March for the India-European Union Summit.
(With Agency Inputs ).