CAA violates basic principles of India’s founding: Bhushan

‘Thousands languishing in jails under wrongful detention’

Published - January 19, 2020 01:41 am IST - KOCHI

Senior advocate Prashant Bhushan at a convention against UAPA and CAA in Kochi on Saturday.

Senior advocate Prashant Bhushan at a convention against UAPA and CAA in Kochi on Saturday.

The Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA) is discriminatory and arbitrary and violates the fundamental principles of India’s founding, said senior advocate Prashant Bhushan.

Speaking to The Hindu here on Saturday, he said the Act discriminated on the basis of religion and so violated the principles that have been fundamental to the understanding of India. He was in the city to speak at a convention organised against the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) and CAA.

Mr. Bhushan said the recent invocation of the UAPA in a case implicating young people in Kerala showed how draconian the law was. The Act gives arbitrary power to the police to designate anyone or any organisation as terrorist. Addressing the convention, he said the burden of proof now rested with the person or persons accused of any act that appeared to be disruptive. As a result, thousands of people languish in Indian jails under wrongful detention because they have to prove their innocence.

The Act provides arbitrary powers to the State. The National Security Act too fell in the same category as was shown in the case of Chandrashekhar Azad, who underwent long detention, he added.

The CAA is also arbitrary in its choice of countries for India to provide citizenship. It leaves out countries like Sri Lanka and Nepal while choosing Bangladesh, Pakistan, and Afghanistan. The basis for providing refuge and citizenship is also religious persecution and not any other reason, Mr. Bhushan observed.

The convention was organised by People United against UAPA. Abha Muraleedharan, former judge of the Kerala High Court P.K. Shamsudheen, John Joseph, K.P. Sethunath, and Smriti Shashidharan spoke.

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