After Kerala became the first state to file a case challenging the contentious Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) in Supreme Court on Tuesday, Union Minister Arjun Ram Meghwal on Thursday said the states opposing the Citizenship Amendment Act will have to implement it.
On Kerala and West Bengal chief ministers opposing the amended law, he said they were constitutionally bound to implement it.
“Citizenship is a subject of Union list. The CAA has been passed by both houses of parliament and the president has given his assent to it. The states have no choice but to implement it,” Meghwal told reporters here.
“The Kerala CM is saying the CAA would not be implemented, the West Bengal CM is also saying the same thing. But they will have to implement it as they have no options,” he said. On the economic slowdown, the Union Minister of State for water resources said it was a transitional phase that will pass.
“The economy has a cycle. It is in a transitional phase at the moment and I am sure the situation will soon turn for the better,” said Meghwal who was here as a central party observer to supervise the election of state BJP president.
Calling the CAA a colourable legislation, the Kerala government also challenged the validity of changes made in 2015 to the Passport law and the Foreigners (Amendment) Order, for regularising the stay of non-Muslim migrants from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan who had entered India before 2015.
“…in as much as there is a constitutional prohibition to make the said legislation in violation of the secular nature of the Constitution; but despite the same, the Legislature has enacted it. The same is the case with the Impugned Passport Rules and the Impugned Foreign Order Amendments,” said the petition.
According to the amended law, non-Muslims who fled religious persecution in Muslim-dominated neighbours Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh will be given Indian citizenship if they entered the country before 2015. This is first such law that has made religion a criterion for obtaining citizenship.
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.