‘States have no powers’: Home Ministry official as five CMs refuse to implement Citizenship Act
New Delhi | Jagran News Desk: Hours after cheif ministers of West Bengal, Punjab, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh said that they will not implement the Citizenship (Amendment) Act in their respective states, a top government official has said that state governments have no powers to reject the implementation of the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2019 as the legislation was enacted under the Union List of the 7th Schedule of the Constitution.
"The states have no powers to deny implementation of a central law which is in the Union List," a top Home Ministry official -- quoted by news agency PTI -- said.
The statement from the Home Ministry official came hours after chief ministers of West Bengal, Punjab, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh said that the Citizenship (Amendment) Act will not be implemented in their states as it is "unconstitutional" and "discriminatory".
Leading the charge against the Central government, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said that the law was passed in the Rajya Sabha and Lok Sabha forcefully but they will let the government divide the country on the basis of religion.
"In your (BJP) manifesto, instead of development issues, you have put in promise to divide the country. Why will citizenship be on the basis of religion? I will not accept this. We dare you," she said.
Meanwhile, Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh described the act s a direct assault on India's secular character and said that the government in Punjab will not implement it.
"We have a majority in the assembly, and will block the bill," he said.
Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel also said that his government will not implement it in the state as it is unconsitutional.
"Whatever decision is made at the Congress party forum on the bill, will be applied in Chhattisgarh," he said.
The act will also not be implemented in Madhya Pradesh, said Chief Minister Kamal Nath saying that the Congress has already taken a stand againg the act.
"Whatever stand the Congress party has taken on Citizenship Amendment Act, we will follow that. Do we want to be a part of a process that sows seeds of divisiveness?," he said.
Earlier on Thursday, Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan had also said that "an anti-constitutional law will have no place" in his state.
The Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2019, which was passed in Lok Sabha on Monday and in Rajya Sabha on Wednesday, seeks to give citizenship to members of Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, Parsi and Christian communities who have come from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan till December 31, 2014.
The act says the refugees of the six communities will be given Indian citizenship after residing in India for five years, instead of 11 years earlier.
Posted By: Aalok Sensharma