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CAB will not pass judicial scrutiny: Chidambaram

He stressed that the Bill violates the fundamental principle of Article 14 of the Constitution.

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New Delhi, Dec 11 : Claiming that the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2019 is “blatantly unconstitutional”, Congress leader P. Chidambaram said in the Rajya Sabha on Wednesday that the government is introducing a new category called citizenship by arbitrary executive feat and this law will be struck down in the court.

“I dare the government to lay the opinion of the law department. I dare the government to invite the Attorney General to answer the questions. A small part of the Constitution is being racked and being demolished by these insidious people,” Chidambaram said.

The Congress member said that India has a Citizenship Act. It recognizes citizenship by birth, citizenship by descent, citizenship by registration, citizenship by naturalization and citizenship by incorporation of territory and these are universal principles.

“Now this government is introducing a new category called citizenship by arbitrary executive feat. I am asking this Parliament to oppose the government in passing what is blatantly unconstitutional law,” he said.

He further said that parliamentarians are elected representatives of the people. “The Constitution has asked us in the first instance to judge the constitutionality of the Bill. We have a responsibility to pass what is constitutional,” he said.

The Congress leader said: “Not all of us are lawyers and in fact all of us should be lawyers. So we must bring collective wisdom and commonsense to say is it constitutional or not.”

“What we are doing here is abdicating our primary responsibility in favour of another three entities of the Constitution. What we are doing is pushing the issue to the lap of the judges,” he said.

Chidambaram believes that the Bill will not pass judicial scrutiny and will land in the court. “Do you think it will stop here? It will not stop here. It will eventually go to the judges and judges are respectable people but they are unelected. Unelected judges and unelected lawyers will ultimately decide whether what we did is constitutional or not. This will be a slap on the face of Parliament.”

He further said: “Knowing that the bill is unconstitutional, I am afraid this government is ramming through this bill in order to advance its Hindutva agenda. This is a sad day. Thankfully they are not amending the Constitution. They are only making a law and I am absolutely confident and clear in my mind this law will be struck down.”

He asked questions in the House over the Bill and sought answers from the Union Home Minister Amit Shah. “I have a few questions. How do we identify only six religious groups and leave out others like Ahmadiyya and Rohingya and others. There are three Abrahamic religions — Judaism, Christianity and Islam. Why government included Christianity and left other two? Why have you excluded Sri Lankan Hindus and Bhutani Christians?”

He also asked why only religious persecution? “Are people not persecuted for political reasons? Are people not persecuted on linguistic ground? Are people not persecuted from unleashing war within their country?”

He stressed that the Bill violates the fundamental principle of Article 14 of the Constitution.

The Congress member stressed that somebody has to take responsibility to answer these questions, daring Shah to lay opinion of law ministry before the House.

India

Citizenship query: It’s not unusual, Chidambaram comes out in Kanimozhi’s support

While non-Hindi speaking recruits to central government posts quickly learn functional spoken Hindi, why cannot Hindi-speaking recruits to these posts learn functional spoken English? the senior Congress leader asked.

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P Chidambaram

New Delhi: Former Union Minister P Chidambaram, a native of Tamil Nadu, has come out in support of DMK MP Kanimozhi, who had tweeted about an incident at an airport wherein she was asked about her citizenship and pointed to his own experiences.

“The unpleasant experience of DMK MP Kanimozhi at the Chennai airport is not unusual. I (too) have experienced similar taunts from government officers and ordinary citizens, who insisted that I speak in Hindi during telephone conversations, and sometimes even face to face,” Chidambaram said.

Read: CISF orders inquiry after DMK MP Kanimozhi asked ‘are you Indian’ at Chennai airport

The former Union Minister said: “If the Centre is genuinely committed to both Hindi and English being the official languages of India, it must insist that all central government employees are bilingual in Hindi and English.”

While non-Hindi speaking recruits to central government posts quickly learn functional spoken Hindi, why cannot Hindi-speaking recruits to these posts learn functional spoken English?” the senior Congress leader asked.

Meanwhile, the BJP has dismissed her allegation as ‘electoral stunt’. BJP General Secretary (Organisation) BL Santhosh tweeted to counter Kanimozhi’s charge, saying that “assembly elections are 8 months away … the campaign starts”.

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India

Amid reconciliation talks, Congress leaders hint at Rahul-Pilot meet

Meanwhile, the Gehlot camp in Jaisalmer is keeping a wary eye on any development in Delhi vis-a-vis the proposed meeting.

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Rahul Gandhi and Sachin Pilot

Jaipur, Aug 10 : Political circles in Rajasthan were on Monday agog with talks of a likely resolution to the crisis arising out of rebellion by Congress MLAs owing allegiance to Sachin Pilot. Congress sources claimed that the Pilot camp lawmakers will meet Rajya Sabha MP KC Venugopal during the day and even meet with Congress leader Rahul Gandhi thereafter.

The Congress sources said that veteran party leader Ahmed Patel had pitched in to resolve the issue that had threatened the survival of the Ashok Gehlot government after the Pilot camp raised a banner of revolt over the state leadership.

The Congress had sacked Pilot as Deputy Chief Minister and the Rajasthan Congress President. So far, Gehlot has stayed put in the CM chair amid claims and counter-claims on attempts to poach MLAs.

On Sunday night, a Congress Legislature Party meeting was held in a Jaisalmer hotel, where MLAs from the Gehlot camp are lodged. In this meeting, they held mixed views on taking back the rebels into the party fold.

While a few MLAs suggested that the rebel camp leader should be taken back in view of the “wafer-thin margin” of the Gehlot government over the opposition in the Assembly, others were not ready to budge and were not in favour of taking back the Pilot followers.

Meanwhile, the Gehlot camp in Jaisalmer is keeping a wary eye on any development in Delhi vis-a-vis the proposed meeting.

A senior Congress worker confirmed to IANS that a few Ministers from Rajasthan had hints to the meeting and that the views of party MLAs were sought ahead of the scheduled meeting on reinducting Pilot and his loyalist MLAs.

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India

Former President Pranab Mukherjee Tests Positive For Coronavirus

In a tweet, the former President said he has tested positive for Coronavirus and asked those who had come in his contact to isolate themselves.

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Pranab-Mukherjee

Former President Pranab Mukherjee said on Monday that he has tested positive for Covid-19.

In a tweet, the former President said he has tested positive for Coronavirus and asked those who had come in his contact to isolate themselves and get tested for the Coronavirus.

“On a visit to the hospital for a separate procedure, I have tested positive for COVID19 today.

I request the people who came in contact with me in the last week, to please self isolate and get tested for COVID-19,” the former President tweeted.

Pranab Mukherjee is one the several VIPs who have tested positive for Coronavirus. Earlier this month, Union Home Minister Amit Shah tested positive for Coronavirus and was admitted to a hospital in Gurugram, Haryana, The BJP’s UP chief, Swatantra Dev Singh, tested positive for the virus the same day.

Karnataka Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa and former Karnataka CM Siddaramaiah also tested Covid-19 positive.

Veteran actor Amitabh Bachchan, his son Abhishek Bachchan, daughter-in-law Aishwarya Rai Bachchan and her daughter also tested positive for Coronavirus. Aishwarya and her daughter recovered and were released from the hospital. The Senior Bachchan was also discharged from hospital after his tests came negative.

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