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Home / India News / This Cong leader backs Sibal on states can’t say no to law passed by Parliament

This Cong leader backs Sibal on states can’t say no to law passed by Parliament

Last Tuesday, Kerala became the first state to challenge the after it moved the Supreme Court to declare the law “violative of the principles of equality, freedom and secularism enshrined in the Constitution”.

india Updated: Jan 19, 2020 11:58 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Congress leader Kapil Sibal said no state can say that it will not implement the Citizenship Amendment Act.
Congress leader Kapil Sibal said no state can say that it will not implement the Citizenship Amendment Act.(ANI Photo )

Congress leader Kapil Sibal on Saturday said that there is no way a state can deny the implementation of the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA) when it is already passed by Parliament, and doing so would be “unconstitutional”.

“If the CAA is passed no state can say ‘I will not implement it’. It is not possible and is unconstitutional. You can oppose it, you can pass a resolution in the Assembly and ask the central government to withdraw it. But constitutionally, saying that I won’t implement it is going to be problematic and will create more difficulties,” said the former Union law minister on the third day of the Kerala Literature Festival (KLF), according to PTI.

Kapil Sibal’s colleague Salman Khurshid also backed him on the issue, saying a law has to be obeyed.

“If the Supreme Court doesn’t interfere, it’ll remain on the statute book. If something’s on the statute book, you’ve got to obey the law, else there are consequences,” said Khurshid.

Last Tuesday, Kerala became the first state to challenge the amended act after the state moved the Supreme Court to declare the law “violative of the principles of equality, freedom and secularism enshrined in the Constitution”.

 Watch | ‘No state can deny implementation of CAA’: Kapil Sibal

The Kerala Assembly was the also first to pass a resolution against the law that fast-tracks Indian citizenship for non-Muslim refugees from Afghanistan, Pakistan and Bangladesh who arrived in India before December 31, 2014. On Friday, the Punjab Assembly also passed a resolution demanding that the contentious law be rolled back.

Sibal explained what states mean when they say “they won’t implement it” and how they wish to do that. “...The NRC is based on the NPR, and the NPR is to be implemented by the local registrar. Now the local registrar has to be appointed at the level of the community in which that enumerations is to take place and those have to be the state level officers. “So what is being said is that we would not allow a state level officer to cooperate with the Union of India. That is what is being said, practically if this is possible or not I am not sure. But constitutionally it would be very difficult for the state government to say that I will not follow a law passed by the Parliament,” he explained.

Sibal said the ongoing agitation against the CAA in different parts of the country is being led by students, poor, and middle-class people of the country and not any political party. “... It is making an impact because globally and within the country the people are realising that this is not politics, this is real. These are students, ordinary and poor middle-class people coming out. They are not connected to any political party. People in India are showing their angst, their concerns, their worries about the future of India. Everybody wants development, what has Modi done? He has done his own development rather than development of the country,” Sibal said.

Sibal’s party colleague Salman Khurshid suggested that everyone should wait for the Supreme Court to decide on CAA.

“It’s a matter where state government have a very serious difference of opinion with Centre as far as this law is concerned. So we would wait for final pronouncement made by Supreme Court. Ultimately the SC will decide and till then everything said/done/not done is provisional and tentative,” ANI quoted him as saying.

At least 60 petitions have been filed by individuals and political parties in the top court challenging the validity of CAA. They are likely to be heard on January 22.

The Opposition claims the law is unconstitutional because it makes religion a test of citizenship.