The Citizenship Amendment Bill of India was introduced in 17th Lok Sabha by the Minister of Home Affairs Amit Shah on 9 December 2019 and was passed on 10 December 2019, with 311 MPs voting in favour and 80 against the Bill. The bill was passed by the Rajya Sabha on 11 December 2019 with 125 votes in favour and 105 votes against it. This bill was enacted into law when President of India signed on this bill on 12 December 2019 and now it is Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA). Just after that, protest against CAA started in many areas and cities around the country. Although this Act is not against India and Indian citizen but due to miscommunication and some political interest, many of the people are protesting this Act. Almost 10 of the states also refused to implement Citizenship Amendment Act. So not the biggest question is “Can a State Government Refuse to Accept Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA)”? This is the hot topic now days because it seems that no one is bother about the country. Some of the political parties and politician want their bread and butter only. They have least interest about nation. We know that anyone can raise their voice and government have to listen but in this case, the mediators are neither listening to government not they are providing correct information about this Act to the protestors. Let’s understand that whether a state government can refuse any bill which has been passed in Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha and even that was signed by the President of India.
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Can a State Government Refuse to Accept Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA)?
No, not at all. There is no way a state can deny the implementation of the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA). It was already passed by both the Parliament houses. State governments have no powers to reject the implementation of the Citizenship Amendment Act as the legislation was enacted under the Union List of the 7th Schedule of the Constitution. There are 97 items under the Union List of the 7th Schedule and they include Defence, External Affairs, Railways, Citizenship and Naturalisation.
Constitutionally, no state in India can refuse to implement a law that has been passed by Parliament and notified by the central government and if any state refused to implement, that is unconstitutional. The states can challenge a law if Parliament infringes upon the rights of the state legislatures in its enactment. The state can oppose it and can pass a resolution in the Assembly and ask the central government to withdraw it or they can go to the court also but in this case, citizenship is in the Union List as a subject. Thus, Article 246 of the Constitution makes Parliament the sole authority to legislate on the matters related to citizenship. The states cannot reject a law passed by Parliament.
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State Government vs Citizenship Amendment Act:
We need to understand some of the constitutional act of India which shows that a state government cannot refuse to implement Citizenship Amendment Act:
Article 245 in the Constitution of India 1949: Extent of laws made by Parliament and by the Legislatures of States
(1) Subject to the provisions of this Constitution, Parliament may make laws for the whole or any part of the territory of India, and the Legislature of a State may make laws for the whole or any part of the State.
(2) No law made by Parliament shall be deemed to be invalid on the ground that it would have extra territorial operation.
So refusing CAA by the state government is totally unconstitutional. State Government can take a resolution and can also go to the court.
Article 256 in the Constitution of India 1949: Obligation of States and the Union
The executive power of every State shall be so exercised as to ensure compliance with the laws made by Parliament and any existing laws which apply in that State, and the executive power of the Union shall extend to the giving of such directions to a State as may appear to the Government of India to be necessary for that purpose.
Hence the CAA passed by Parliament. It also empowers the central government to issue direction to state governments to ensure compliance.
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Article 365 in the Constitution of India 1949: Effect of failure to comply with, or to give effect to, directions given by the Union
Where any State has failed to comply with or to give effect to any directions given in the exercise of the executive power of the Union under any directions given in the exercise of the executive power of the Union under any of the provisions of this Constitution, it shall be lawful for the President to hold that a situation has arisen in which the government of the State cannot be carried on in accordance with the provisions of this Constitution.
So it mandatory for the state governments to follow and implement the directions of the Central government, failing which the President can hold that the state government cannot carry on.
Overall the ball is in Central Government side. Constitutionally, state government has to implement CAA otherwise court is open. But before going court and before protest CAA; we all are Indian, we need to see whether CAA is against any Indian or whether CAA good for our country.
I think CAA protects us; protects our borders; protects our culture; protects our society and protects our nation. We need to understand that this Act is beneficial for all of us.
The Supreme Court of India is currently hearing a batch of over 60 petitions which have challenged the constitutionality of the Citizenship Amendment Act. Now the Supreme Court of India will decide whether CAA is constitutional or unconstitutional.