West Bengal, MP, Punjab, Kerala, Chhattisgarh CMs vowed not to implement it.
New Delhi: The Union home ministry says that state governments do not have any powers to stall implementation of the Citizenship (Amendment) Act in their states since it was enacted under the Union List of the Seventh Schedule of the Constitution. There are 97 items which are under the Union List, which include defence, external affairs, railways, citizenship and naturalisation, in addition to others. A senior ministry official said states do not have the power to decline to implement a Central law which is in the Union List.
The ministry’s view was made public after the refusal by the chief ministers of West Bengal, Punjab, Madhya Pradesh, Kerala and Chhattisgarh, among others, who have categorically declared that they will not implement the law in their states. Most of these states are rule either run by the Congress or other Opposition parties.
Under the revised Citizenship Act, members of Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, Parsi and Christian communities who have come from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan till December 31, 2014 in the wake of religious persecution will be granted Indian citizenship.
According to the provisions of the law, these refugees will now be given Indian citizenship after residing in India for five years, instead of 11 years earlier. The Citizenship (Amendment) Bill was passed by the Rajya Sabha on Wednesday, and by the Lok Sabha on Monday.
Earlier, both Kerala CM Pinarayi Vijayan and West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee had launched a scathing attack on the new law. Punjab chief minister Amarinder Singh had also said his government will not implement the legislation.
Another Congress chief minister, Bhupesh Baghel from Chhattisgarh, said the act was clearly unconstitutional and the same view was expressed by his counterpart in Madhya Pradesh, Kamal Nath, who claimed: “Whatever stand the Congress Party has taken on the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, we will follow that. Do we want to be a part of a process that sows the seeds of divisiveness?”