oppn parties The Modi Government: Right In Being Firm On CAA, Wrong In Stifling Protests By Force

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  • China bans access to Indian news websites
  • PM Modi says that as Unlock-02 kicks in and more people resume working, people have to follow the rules even more religiously
  • PM Modi says that all citizens need to be vigilant against people who do not follow the rules in force, like wearing masks and maintaining social distancing
  • PM Modi warns the country that with the onset of the monsoon, more seasonal diseases will strike and citizens have to be more disciplined
  • Hero Cycles to buy the struggling Atlas Cycle group
  • RIL to buy the retail businesses of Future Group
  • Import licensing to be put in place for AC's TV's and other non-essential items
  • Rafale to deliver the first batch of the fighter jets to India by the end of July
  • J&K separatist leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani, the most visible face of the Hurriyat, broke all relations with the forum
  • Nearly 20000 new Covid cases reported in India on Sunday. 384 deaths reported
  • Even as the Centre checks Chinese shipments for viruses and malware, transport minister Nitin Gadkari says holding up consignments at ports will hit India more than China
  • Fuel retailers in J&K asked to stock up on LPG cylinders for two months due to fear over the closure of roads because of landslides and flooding in the monsoons. But it triggers wild speculations about war with China
  • Amazon to hire 20000 temporary staff in addition to the 50000 seasonal staff it hired recently
  • RBI board thinks of relaxing norms for NPAs. The 90-day recognition might be extended to 180 days due to widespread distress due to the lockdown
  • Google and Apple approach the government to include their API in Aarogya Setu app for contact tracing of Covid-19 infected persons
PM Modi announces extension of PM Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana, the free ration scheme for the poor, until November
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The Modi Government: Right In Being Firm On CAA, Wrong In Stifling Protests By Force

By Sunil Garodia
First publised on 2019-12-20 12:58:06

About the Author

Sunil Garodia Editor-in-Chief of indiacommentary.com. Current Affairs analyst and political commentator. Writes for a number of publications.

The Modi government is both right and wrong on the CAA. It is right in asserting that there will be no rollback of CAA. The government has been voted to power on the basis of its manifesto which included the fact that it will amend the Citizenship Act as it has done. It is right in saying that it has the power to enact legislation if the same is passed in parliament. Those who claim that the CAA is unconstitutional are only expressing their opinion as they neither have the ability nor the authority to declare this. Only the Supreme Court has that power and it has already admitted several petitions on the matter and issued a notice to the Centre in this regard.

But the government is wrong in using force to prevent peaceful protests against the CAA. It was wrong in sending the police inside Jamia Millia to break up peaceful protests by the students. It is wrong in invoking section 144 to disallow people from assembling to protest. It is wrong in detaining people like Ramchandra Guha for expressing his opinion against the CAA in a rally. It is wrong in giving the impression that only Muslims are protesting against the Act. It is wrong in suspending the internet in several places.

The government has to recognize that in a democracy, there will always be a substantial number of people who will not accept its policies or agree to the laws it chooses to enact. If everyone would have been on the same page with the government, it would have won with a 100 percent vote in its favour. This government has won with a little over 40 percent of the popular vote and is in power only because India follows a first-past-the-post electoral system. Hence, it should be prepared for dissent. It should allow people to protest peacefully if they do not like any of its policies or laws. It should desist from using force or colonial-era laws to stifle these protests.

At the same time, if the government thinks it is right in enacting the law, it should remain firm and put the law into practice. The proposed amendments to the Citizenship Act were in the public domain for long. In fact, the last bill introduced to amend the same had lapsed due to the termination of the term of the last Lok Sabha. In the present parliament, the opposition failed to unite in the Rajya Sabha despite its strong objection to the bill. Hence, it now has no excuse.

Instead of raising the mercury level in the country, it would be advisable for all to wait for the Supreme Court to decide the matter. If all laws to be enacted in India were subjected to a UN-monitored plebiscite, as suggested by West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee (she has said that if the BJP "has the guts" it should agree to a UN-monitored referendum), no laws would get made. Further, the UN has no right to interfere in the matter. Only the Indian parliament can enact laws and the Supreme Court can rule whether they pass the Constitutional test.