States have right to disagree with Centre, cannot be forced to implement ‘unconstitutional’ law: Congress on CAA

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Updated: January 20, 2020 1:26:53 PM

The Congress' assertion comes a day after senior Congress leader Kapil Sibal said there is no way a state can deny the implementation of the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) when it is already passed by Parliament.

Randeep Singh Surjewala in a statement said states have the right to disagree with the Centre and until the issue is resolved in court, they cannot be “forced” to implement the “unconstitutional” law.

Amid the tussle between the Kerala government and the governor over the Left dispensation approaching the Supreme Court against the CAA, the Congress on said states have the right to disagree with the Centre and until the issue is resolved in court, they cannot be “forced” to implement the “unconstitutional” law.

The Congress’ assertion comes after senior Congress leader Kapil Sibal said there is no way a state can deny the implementation of the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) when it is already passed by Parliament.

He, however, later asserted that every state assembly has the constitutional right to pass a resolution and seek the amended Citizenship Act’s withdrawal, but if the law is declared constitutional by the Supreme Court then it will be problematic to oppose it.

READ MORE: Another Congress leader speaks up: Bhupinder Hooda says states can’t say no to law passed by Parliament

“Let the BJP government and its governors not forget that India is a Union of states. As per the established parliamentary practice, states can disagree with the Union and challenge the same by way of their constitutional right under Article 131 of the Constitution,” Congress’ chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said in a statement on Sunday.

In the past, many states such as Karnataka, Bihar, Rajasthan, just to name a few, have approached the Supreme Court under Article 131 to resolve disputes with the Union of India on a range of issues, he said.

“Until the issue is resolved on a petition moved under Article 131, states cannot be forced to implement an unconstitutional law like the CAA,” Surjewala said.

The people’s movement against the CAA shall go on “courageously and fearlessly”. Citizens, parties and states shall continue to oppose the CAA with determination, he said.

Repeated statements being made by Home Minister Amit Shah and governors “forcing” the states to implement the CAA are itself preposterous and go against the very concept of ‘constitutional federalism’, Surjewla said.

Kerala Governor Arif Mohammed Khan has been at loggerheads with the government ever since the state Assembly passed a resolution last month, seeking to scrap the CAA.

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