- Kerala moved top court against CAA, becoming first state to do so
- The state government's move was a "breach of protocol", Governor said
- Over 60 writ petitions have been filed against CAA in top court
Kerala Governor Arif Mohammad Khan today hit out at the Pinarayi Vijayan government after it challenged the controversial Citizenship (Amendment) Act or CAA in the Supreme Court, saying "common courtesy demanded that prior permission" should have been taken from him. The Kerala government challenged the validity of the law in the top court on Tuesday, becoming the first state to do so.
Governor Arif Mohammad Khan this morning suggested that the state government's move was a "breach of protocol". "I'm not saying that what they did is wrong. They may have every right to approach the Supreme Court," he said.
"But the common courtesy demanded that prior permission (should have been) taken from me... at least I should have been kept in the loop," he told reporters.
Mr Khan also suggested that he will "check if the state government can do this without permission from the governor". "The constitutional head of the state is getting to know about this through newspapers that the state government is challenging a law passed by the parliament," he further said.
Reacting to the Governor's remarks, the ruling CPM said that Mr Khan is "violating the democratic traditions, constitutional provisions" by making such remarks. "The relationship between centre and a state is not that if a master and servant... it is based on the constitution. Each constituent has been given specific powers. He (Governor) should act only on the basis of the constitution and the precedence," CPM leader S Ramachnadran Pillai said.
"Many such governors are there in India at present. Look at the Maharashtra Governor - what he did at the time of last government formation last year. He acted as an agent of the central government. Tje Kerala Governor is only trying to follow him," he further said.
The Citizenship Amendment Act eases the path for non-Muslims in the neighbouring Muslim-majority nations of Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh to become Indian citizens. Critics fear that the CAA, along with a proposed National Register of Citizens (NRC), will discriminate against Muslims.
In its petition, Kerala's Left-led government has called the CAA a violation of several articles of the constitution including the right to equality. The law goes against the basic principle of secularism in the constitution, it further read.
The state government has also challenged the validity of changes made in 2015 to the Passport law and the Foreigners (Amendment) Order, regularising the stay of non-Muslim migrants from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan who had entered India before 2015.
Over 60 writ petitions have been filed in Supreme Court so far against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act. Various political parties, NGOs and also MPs have challenged the law. The Supreme Court will hear the petitions on January 22.
Earlier this month, Kerala became the first state in the country to pass a resolution against the CAA in the assembly. The governor, however, had said that the resolution "has no legal or constitutional validity". "This resolution has no legal or constitutional validity because citizenship is exclusively a central subject, this actually means nothing," he had said.