Amid the ongoing protests against the contentious Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), senior Congress leader Kapil Sibal said it no state government can say no to implementing a law ‘passed by parliament.
Sibal, who was participating in the Kerala Literature Festival (KLF) at Kozhikode on January 18th, 2020, said, “Constitutionally, it would be difficult for any government to say that ‘I will not follow a law passed by parliament.”
In a tweet on January 19th, 2020, he called the new citizenship law “unconstitutional” and said the “fight (against it) must go on”. “Every State Assembly has the constitutional right to pass a resolution and seek it’s withdrawal,” he wrote on the microblogging site.
Former Union Minister and senior Congress leader Salman Khurshid backed Sibal’s statement. “If the Supreme Court doesn’t interfere, it’ll remain on the statute book. If something is on the statute book, you have to obey the law, else there are consequences,” Khurshid told ANI.
Speaking on the same tone, Aam Aadmi Party leader Sanjay Singh said a law once passed by the Parliament cannot be stopped by a state government.
Massive protests broke out in the country soon after the passage of the Citizenship Amendment Bill in both the houses of the parliament.
The CAA grants citizenship to Hindu, Sikh, Jain, Parsi, Buddhist, and Christian refugees from Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Bangladesh who came to India on or before December 31st, 2014. Those protesting against the law say that the Act is discriminatory and creates a divide on the basis of religion.
In Assam, rail stations, panchayat office, a post office, a bank, a bus terminus, shops, several vehicles and other public properties have been either set ablaze or ransacked during the anti-CAA protests.
The streets of Assam, specially the Guwahati-Shillong Road, had turned into a veritable battle zone littered with burnt tyres, logs, stones, rubber pellets and teargas shells as seething protesters, mostly students, descended on the streets opposing the citizenship act.
Four people have been killed in police firing, while an oil tanker driver was charred to death when his vehicle was set on fire in Orang.
Kerala says not to CAA
Kerala has become the first state to challenge the new CAA before the Supreme Court. The Kerala Left-led government in its petition stated that the CAA is a violation of several articles of the Constitution of India.
The Kerala government led by Pinarayi Vijayan also mentioned in the petition that the amended law is against the provisions of Right to Equality and the basic principle of secularism in the constitution.
As many as 60 petitions have been filed in the top court against the CAA. Chief Justice of India S A Bobde on January 9th, 2020 said that the Court will hear the challenge to the constitutionality of the CAA only after the violence which erupts across the country against the legislation stops.