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Opposition-ruled States can’t say ‘no’ to new citizenship law: Centre

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on December 13, 2019 Published on December 13, 2019

Muslim activists taking part in a protest rally against the NRC and the CAB in Kolkata, on Friday Debasish Bhaduri   -  Debasish Bhaduri

Though Union Home Minister Amit Shah made it clear while replying to a debate on the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill on Wednesday that the law will be implemented in all States, many Opposition-led State governments have come out against the law stating that it is anti-Constitutional.

Chief Ministers such as Mamata Banerjee, Pinarayi Vijayan, Capiatn Amrinder Singh, Bhupesh Baghel and Kamal Nath announced that the law will not be implemented in their States. The Centre, however, said the Constitution does not allow the States to take a different approach and maintained that the CAB will be applicable to all States.

Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said on Thursday that the Bill reflects the ideology of the RSS and not the inclusive framework of the country’s Constitution. “The Bill polarises people on communal lines. It is against the unity of the country. This Bill will not withstand the judicial scrutiny,” Vijayan said and added that the BJP’s attempt to create a theocratic Hindu Rashtra will be challenged.

Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh said the Bill is a direct assault on the secular character of the country and the Punjab government will not implement the legislation in the State.

Congress leader and Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel said the Act is unconstitutional. “Whatever decision is made at the Congress party forum on the Bill will be applied in Chhattisgarh,” he said. Senior Congressman and Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Kamal Nath said: “Whatever stand the Congress party has taken on Citizenship Amendment Act, we will follow that. Do we want to be a part of a process that sows seeds of divisiveness?”

A Home Ministry official told reporters that State governments have no powers to reject the implementation of the Act as the legislation was enacted under the Union List of the 7th Schedule of the Constitution.

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Published on December 13, 2019
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