Face off: Why states have no right to stall NPR, citizenship law
New Delhi, Jan 02: Kerala chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Wednesday strongly defended the move to pass a resolution against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and said that "the state assemblies have their own privileges."
Union law minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said state governments have the "constitutional duty" of implementing the laws passed by Parliament.
He also said the states which say that they would not implement the amended citizenship law should seek appropriate legal opinion before taking such decisions.
"The states have a constitutional duty to implement laws passed by Parliament," Prasad told reporters.
On Tuesday, the Kerala assembly passed a resolution against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), becoming the first state in the country to do so.
"State assemblies have its own privileges. Such actions are unheard of anywhere. But we cannot rule out anything in the present circumstance as unprecedented things are happening now-a-days in the country," Vijayan said defending the resolution.
"The assemblies have its own special protection and it should not be violated," he said.
Kerala has become the first state to pass a resolution against a law which has been violating the fundamental principles of the Constitution and it has great significance, the chief minister added.
State vs Centre:
A Home Ministry official told OneIndia that the states cannot stall this process. The states have no right to stop either the NPR or the newly amended citizenship law.
While the states have said that the Act will not be implemented, legally speaking it is not possible for them to do so. The Citizenship (Amendment) Bill was enacted under the Union List of the Seventh Schedule of the Constitution. Among the 97 items under this list, citizenship and naturalisation are one among them.
Defence, external affairs, railways among others also fall under the Union List. Since citizenship and naturalisation fall under this List, it is entirely under the powers of the Centre to implement the same and the states cannot refuse it.
The Seventh Schedule of the Constitution defines the powers and functions between the Centre and States. There are three lists under this, namely the Union, State and Concurrent List.
Items that fall under the Union List gives the Centre or Parliament the exclusive powers to legislate on matters. Extradition, naval, military, citizenship and naturalisation, Air Force, passports, war and peace are some of the items under this list.
The State List, on the other hand, involves 61 items on which the state has the exclusive power to legislate. This does not comprise citizenship and naturalisation. Some items include law and order, public health, agriculture etc.
The Concurrent List, on the other hand, deals with 47 items. The items under this list fall under the joint domain of the Centre and State. In case of a dispute on this List, then the law made by the Centre would prevail. Some items under this list are criminal law, motor vehicle law, insolvency, forests etc.