Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Wednesday said that the resolution passed by Kerala Assembly is against the “unconstitutional” Citizenship Act passed by the Centre, and added that it has been noticed by the whole country.
The Chief Minister’s remarks came hours after Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said the law is perfectly legal and constitutional, and is bound to be implemented in the entire country.
Speaking to reporters in Thiruvananthapuram on Tuesday, Prasad said Parliament has powers to pass law with regard to subjects under the Seventh Schedule, and this is not in the domain of a state Assembly.
“Citizenship, naturalization ans aliens are entry 17 on the Union list. Therefore, it is only the Parliament that has the power to pass any law with regards to citizenship, and not any Assembly, including Kerala,” he said.
In a rather sarcastic tone, the Union minister further insisted that Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan should get better legal advice on the issue.
“The law relates to six persecuted communities of three countries — Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan … This law is binding on the entire country. CAA is not related to any Indian Muslim,” said Prasad.
He cited former Prime Ministers Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi, who gave citizenship to minorities from Uganda and Sri Lankan Tamils. He queried if it was okay for the Congress, then how it is an issue when Prime Minister Narendra Modi or Home Minister Amit Shah have done too.
He said the law does note relate to any Indian citizen or take away citizenship from any Indian, and attacked the Congress for spreading misinformation on the law.
On the National Population Register (NPR), Prasad said it is a census governed by the Census Act and the population data is used for policy making for Centre and state governments.
“Held a good & effective public meeting at Gandhi Park, Thiruvananthapuram in support of #CitizenshipAmendmentAct. Urged people not to believe in misinformation campaign being run by opposition parties to spread violence. Assured them that this law does not affect any Indian citizen,” Prasad later tweeted.
Meanwhile, on Wednesday again, the Union Law minister stressed that there is a constitutional obligation on every state to exercise the executive power in such a way that ensures compliance with laws made by Parliament.
In a major development, Kerala Assembly on Tuesday passed a resolution demanding the withdrawal of the Citizenship Amendment Act.
Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan had moved a resolution against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) in state Assembly, demanding the withdrawal of the contentious act.
While presenting the resolution, Vijayan said the CAA was against the “secular” outlook and fabric of the country and would lead to religion-based discrimination in granting citizenship.
“The Act contradicts the basic values and principles of the Constitution. In view of the anxiety among the people of the country, the Centre should take steps to drop the CAA and uphold the secular outlook of the Constitution,” he said.
Noting that the Act had triggered widespread protests among various sections of society, the chief minister said it had dented India’s image in front of the international community.
The Kerala Chief Minister also assured the Assembly that no detention centres will come up in the state.
CM Vijayan, in his address, stated that Kerala “has a tradition of inclusiveness” and that it needs to be kept alive.
This came as the opposition Congress-led UDF had demanded the Left government to convene a special session and pass a resolution against the CAA during an all-party meeting convened by the Chief Minister on December 29 to discuss the issue.
States of West Bengal, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Delhi, Punjab, Chhattisgarh have announced that they will not implement either the National Register of Citizens (NRC) or the Citizenship Amendment Act.