Karnataka

‘Fight against CAA should be a mass movement’

Former Advocate-General Ravivarma Kumar, former Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, former Supreme Court Judge V. Gopala Gowda and former Minister H.C. Mahadevappa in Mysuru on Sunday.

Former Advocate-General Ravivarma Kumar, former Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, former Supreme Court Judge V. Gopala Gowda and former Minister H.C. Mahadevappa in Mysuru on Sunday.  

Retired SC judge V. Gopala Gowda describes the Act as discriminatory on many counts

Legal experts highlighted the ‘lack of legal and constitutional backing’ for the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA) on the grounds that it was discriminatory and hence ought to be rejected by the people of the country.

At a seminar on the CAA, National Population Register (NPR) and National Register of Citizens (NRC), former Supreme Court Judge V. Gopala Gowda said on Sunday that the opposition to it should be a mass movement in what he described as the second freedom struggle.

Mr. Gowda said sovereignty rests with the people and not the government and its days will be numbered in case it fails to realise this. “You can constitute a government on winning a majority but cannot enact a law that goes against the basic doctrine of the Constitution,” he said.

He said the Act was discriminatory on many counts as it left out not only the Muslims but also people seeking refuge from other neighbouring countries including Sri Lanka and Myanmar and exclusion was antithetical to the constitutional norms.

Expressing concern over the draconian powers that will be vested with lower rung officials to determine on who is a citizen or not, Mr. Gowda said people without proper documents would be dubbed as doubtful citizens and this is dangerous as it can be used to suppress political opponents and dissent. Such people will be sent to detention centres while their cases will get dragged on in courts for decades, he added. Questioning the need for such an Act and an exercise in the first place, Mr. Gowda said State after State was rejecting the NPR and NRC exercise and the fight against it was intensifying.

Former Advocate-General Ravivarma Kumar said there was no mention of NPR in the Constitution or the Citizenship Act of 1955 and hence it lacked a parental law. It was only introduced in 2003 but was never implemented. He said the exercise will affect not just the Muslims but other people also including women as it was an RSS agenda. “It is the RSS – with its headquarters at Nagpur - that is ruling the country and not the BJP, otherwise Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa need not have to seek permission from others for Cabinet expansion,” he said.

This issue did not pertain to Muslims alone but concerned all citizens of India, said Mr. Kumar, and added that there were protests against the law from Kashmir to Kanyakumari and the government should listen to the people of the country.

“The then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh heard out Anna Hazare who was leading an anti-corruption rally in Delhi. But this government is trying to throttle any opposition and displaying the mindset of a thug out to suppress dissent,” remarked Mr. Kumar, expressing concern that all democratic and constitutional bodies were being compromised.

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Printable version | Apr 6, 2020 8:35:07 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/fight-against-caa-should-be-a-mass-movement/article30721940.ece

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