"No Escape" From Citizenship Law: Ravi Shankar Prasad's Message To States

The Constitution's Article 256 says that states are obliged to comply with the laws made by parliament, the minister pointed out.

Such a procedure, Ravi Shankar Prasad said, is against the constitution.

Highlights

  • States obliged to follow laws made by parliament: Ravi Shankar Prasad
  • Chief Ministers of nine states have refused to implement the law
  • Kerala assembly passed a resolution against the law last week
New Delhi:

There is "no escape" from implementing the contentious Citizenship law, Union minister Ravi Shankar Prasad has reminded the states after Kerala assembly passed a resolution against the law last week, asking the Centre to revoke it. Chief Ministers of nine states, including Kerala's Pinarayi Vijayan, have refused to implement the law and there is speculation that a section of these might follow suit.

Such a procedure, Ravi Shankar Prasad said, is against the constitution.

"Of late, we are noting that a lot of state governments, due to votebank politics, are making public declarations that they won't enforce the CAA (Citizenship Amendment Act)," the minister said.

"I want to gently remind these parties, please get proper legal advice. Article 245, 256 and other provisions state that parliament has the complete power to pass laws regarding naturalization and citizenship," the minister added.

The Constitution's Article 256 says that states are obliged to comply with the laws made by parliament, the minister pointed out.

"These are clear constitutional obligations. Both houses discussed CAA (Citizenship Amendment Act) and passed the law. No escape, the law has to be implemented," he said. "All governments talking about not implementing it, need to know that once they have taken oath, they are bound to follow mandate of the Constitution".

Top Congress sources have indicated they are not keen on having state governments passing resolutions and would wait for the Supreme Court hearing on this matter.

"As far as the Maharashtra government is concerned, the matter is in the Supreme Court and will take a decision after the verdict," said Balasaheb Thorat.

The opposition agrees that it is going to be a long and sustained campaign opposing the Citizenship Act and with students in the forefront of this campaign, they are hoping for a legal reprieve.

The Citizenship (Amendment) Act makes religion the test of citizenship for the first time. The government says it will help minorities from three Muslim-dominated neighbouring nations - Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan -- to get citizenship if they fled to India because of religious persecution.

Critics say it is designed to discriminate against Muslims and violates the secular principles of the constitution.

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