States are allowed to pass resolutions against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) but they cannot decide whether the new law will be implemented or not, Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said today at an event in Chennai, Tamil Nadu.
She said the plan of some states to not implement the Citizenship Amendment Act is “unconstitutional”.
Punjab and Kerala governments passed resolutions against the controversial Citizenship Amendment Act in their state assemblies recently. The Kerala government became the first to challenge the new law in the Supreme Court amid nationwide protests against the religion-based citizenship law. The Supreme Court is already hearing over 60 petitions against the law.
At an event on CAA, organised by the Chennai Citizens’ Forum, Ms Sitharaman said: “A state assembly has passed a resolution against CAA. It is like making a political statement. We can understand that. They can go ahead and we will not say no to that. But saying they will not implement it, then it is against the law. It is unconstitutional to say that.”
She said it is the responsibility of all states to ensure that the law passed in Parliament is executed.
“Everybody in this country has the responsibility to implement the law which has been passed in Parliament,”, the minister, who was in Chennai as part of the BJP’s nationwide ‘Jan Jagran Abhiyan’ campaign in support of the Act, said.
Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, West Bengal and Maharashtra have also voiced their disagreement with the CAA, as well as National Register of Citizens (NRC) and National Population Register (NPR). Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh has also announced that the Congress state government is going to join Kerala in the Supreme Court in the case.
Senior lawyer and Congress leader Kapil Sibal has said that every state Assembly has the constitutional right to pass a resolution and seek CAA’s withdrawal, even though it is “unconstitutional.”
While the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), eases the path for non-Muslims in the neighbouring Muslim-majority nations of Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh to become Indian citizens, the critics fear that the CAA, along with a proposed National Register of Citizens (NRC), will discriminate against the Muslims.
(With PTI inputs)