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States have no power to refuse implementation of Citizenship (Amendment) Act


New Delhi, Dec 17: Several states have said that the Citizenship (Amendment) Act would not be implemented. West Bengal, Madhya Pradesh, Kerala are some of the states that have said that the Act will not be implemented.

The Act aimed at giving citizenship to the Hindus, Buddhists, Jains, Sikhs, Parsis and Christians from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan has drawn the ire of many and this has resulted in violent protests.

States have no power to refuse implementation of Citizenship (Amendment) Act

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 is one among them.

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    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.

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    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.

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