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New Delhi
Wednesday 29 January 2020

State governments have no right to block Citizenship Act 2019

An officer of the MHA said a State government could not refuse to implement a law that is among the 97 items on the Union list (7th Schedule of the Constitution)

State governments have no right to stop the implementation of the Citizenship Amendment Act 2019, said a source in the Ministry of Home Affairs today. He pointed out that the State governments do not have the authority to reject it since it is listed under the 7th Schedule of the Constitution.

The Home Ministry officer made this statement at a time when West Bengal, Punjab, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh have described the law as “unconstitutional” and asserted they would not implement the law in their States.

The Home Ministry official said, “A State government cannot refuse to implement any law which comes in the list of central laws.” He said that 97 items fall under the 7th schedule of Union list, such as defence, external affairs, railways, citizenship, etc.

On Thursday, Kerala Chief Minister P Vijayan had said that an “unconstitutional law has no place in our State”.

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had said, “You have promised to divide the country instead of taking up development issues in your (BJP) manifesto. Why should religion be the basis of getting citizenship? I will not accept it. I challenge it.” Banerjee had said, “Because you have the numbers, you can pass the bill in Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha, but we will not let you divide the country.”

Punjab Chief Captain Amarinder Singh had said, “Any legislation that seeks to divide people on religious lines is illegal, unethical & unconstitutional. India’s strength lies in its diversity and #CABBill2019 violates the basic principle of the constitution. Hence my govt will not allow the bill to be implemented in Punjab.”

Chhattisgarh CM Bhupesh Baghel said that the Act was completely “unconstitutional”. He said, “Whatever decision the INC takes regarding this bill, the State government will follow it.”

Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Kamal Nath had said earlier today, “Whatever stand the INC takes on this law, we will follow it.”

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