Speaker writes to EU ahead of debate

Will set wrong precedent, Birla warns Sassoli | No meddling: Naidu

Speaker writes to EU ahead of debate

Rajnath Singh, Defence Minister

Tribune News Service

New Delhi, January 27

Some Opposition parties are passing resolutions that their states would not implement Citizenship (Amendment) Act. I want to appeal to them not to do so. This is a constitutional blunder.

Rajnath Singh, Defence Minister

Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla today wrote a strongly worded letter to David Maria Sassoli, President of the European Parliament, urging him not to set an unhealthy precedent by holding a debate on a Bill passed by a sovereign parliament. He said countries that were members of the Inter-Parliamentary Union should respect sovereign processes of one another lest vested interests misused these.

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Six resolutions

  • Renew Group: 108 Members of European Parliament

  • European Conservatives and Reformists: 66 MEPs

  • GUE/NGL (Left/Nordic Green Left): 41 MEPs

  • EPP (Christian Democrats): 182 MEPs

  • S&D (Socialists & Democrats): 154 MEPs

  • Greens/EFA (European Free Alliance): 74 MEPs

“It is inappropriate for one legislature to pass judgment 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,” Birla wrote. Referring to the Joint Motion for Resolution introduced in the European Parliament on Monday on the Indian Citizenship (Amendment) Act, Birla said, “This Act provides for easier citizenship to those who have been subjected to religious persecution in our immediate neighbourhood. It is not aimed to take away citizenship... The legislation was passed after due deliberation by both Houses of Indian Parliament.”

The European Parliament has introduced six resolutions criticising New Delhi’s policy on Kashmir and the CAA.

The resolutions will be discussed from late Wednesday and voting is expected the next day. If passed, European Commission chiefs will be asked to raise these issues with the Indian Government.

Draft rules may seek...

  • Documents to prove that applicants under CAA belonged to six religions (Hindu, Sikh, Christian, Buddhist, Jain or Parsi) eligible under the law

  • Proof that they entered India before December 31, 2014

Meanwhile, even as the Centre works to finalise CAA rules, sources in the government indicated that the non-Muslim refugees from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan applying for Indian citizenship under the new law would have to produce documentary “proof of religion”.

The draft rules for the CAA, 2019, are also likely to seek documents from applicants that they entered India before December 31, 2014, and that they belonged to the six religions (Hindu, Sikh, Christian, Buddhist, Jain or Parsi) eligible under the law.

The Union Government is also likely to give a relatively smaller window of just three months to those who want to apply for the Indian citizenship in Assam under the CAA, another official said, adding that some Assam-specific provisions were expected to be incorporated in the rules to be issued for the implementation of the amended Act.

Taking exception to comments by foreign bodies on lawmaking in India, Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu today said, “Some efforts are being made outside India to comment on some laws made by Parliament and to raise some issues based on inadequate knowledge and insufficient understanding of the issues sought to be addressed by our lawmakers. Such efforts are totally uncalled for and unwarranted.” Naidu was speaking at the release of “TRG-An Enigma”, a book on the life of educationist TR Gupta.


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