Don’t have a choice: Govt rebuffs 5 states, unwilling to implement citizenship law
New Delhi, Dec 13: State governments have no powers to reject the implementation of the contentious Citizenship Amendment Act as it comes under the union list.
"The states have no powers to deny implementation of a central law which is in the Union List," the top official from the home ministry said.
Under the Union List of the 7th Schedule, there are 97 items that including defence, external affairs, railways, citizenship and naturalisation come under the central government.
The statement comes a day after the chief ministers of West Bengal, Punjab, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh announced that the law is "unconstitutional and has no place in the respective states.
West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee, one of the vocal critique of Narendra Modi said, "In your (BJP) manifesto, instead of development issues, you have put in promise to divide the country. Why will citizenship be on the basis of religion? I will not accept this. We dare you ... ." "You can pass laws in Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha forcefully because you have the number. But we will not let you divide the country," she said.
Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Thursday lashed out at the BJP-led government and said the "unconstitutional Bill" will have no place in Kerala and the state will not implement it.
The Act is unconstitutional...Citizenship Amendment Bill (CAB) will have no place in Kerala and it will not be implemented in the State," Vijayan told reporters.
He also tweeted that democracy in the country was in danger.
Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh said he will block attempts to implement the law through his party's majority in the state assembly.
"This law is of a very divisive nature. Any legislation that seeks to divide the people of the country into religious lines is illegal and unethical," Singh said.
The Citizenship Amendment Act mandates citizenship to the illegal immigrant for Hindu, Sikh, Parsi, Christian, Jain and Buddhist from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan, who entered India without documentation before 31 December 2014.
According to the new act, people of these communities will be entitled to get Indian citizenship in six years - instead of 12 years - and the cut off date is December 31, 2014.