CAA central subject, states will have to implement, says Kerala governor

Kerala Governor Arif Mohammad Khan. File photo

Jaipur: Kerala Governor Arif Mohammad Khan on Saturday said that the states will have to implement the amended citizenship law as is the subject of the central list.

The governor, who has been at loggerheads with the Kerala government over the law, said the matter was not a state subject.

"There is no way other than implementing the act. It will have to be implemented under (Article) 254," Khan told reporters in response to a question on some states refusing to implement the new law.

The Left government in Kerala has said that it would not implement the law as it is unconstitutional.

Khan said everyone should understand "one's own jurisdiction".

"You may give your arguments by using your intellect, you have the right to challenge it in the Supreme Court but citizenship act is the subject of Union List and not a state subject," he said after addressing a programme at a private university in Jaipur.

Khan said people can be adamant about their opinion but cannot go beyond the boundary of law.

The Kerala government earlier this week moved the Supreme Court against the Citizenship Amendment Act, seeking to declare it violative of the principles of equality, freedom and secularism enshrined in the Constitution. On Friday, Khan criticised the Left government for approaching the apex court against the CAA without informing him and said he may seek a report from it about the move.

The Kerala government on Saturday said it has not violated any rules as stated by Governor Arif Muhammed Khan, and no deliberate attempts have been made to challenge the authority of his office.

There have been protests against the amended law, and some of them turned violent last month.

Some opposition parties too have opposed it, saying the law is discriminatory.

The central government has said the law grants Indian citizenship to religious minorities escaping persecution in Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh and does not take away anyone's citizenship.

Weighing on the protests, the Kerala governor said it was not the first time protests were happening in the country. "A bigger protest happened in 1986 when a Supreme Court judgment was reversed," he said, without elaborating the verdict he was referring to.

Rules not violated by govt, says Balan

While stating that the government would clear all apprehensions raised by Khan, Kerala Law minister A K Balan maintained that the LDF government's decision to approach the Supreme court against the controversial Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) was in accordance with the Constitution.

"Rules of Business deals with the steps to be taken with regard to the state cabinet. It fixes the role and duty of various department heads, ministers, Chief Minister, Cabinet and the Governor.

As far as we know, the government has not violated any of its rules. We will take necessary steps to clear the apprehensions of the Governor," Balan said.

"Neither the Constitution or Rules of Business nor the Rules that deal with the Legislative Assembly, provides any clause asking to seek the permission of the Governor," Balan told reporters on the sidelines of the CPI(M) central committee meet here.

Balan also noted that the state government filed the suit in the Supreme Court as per Article 131 of the Constitution.

Averring that the state government "never took any deliberate step to challenge the authority of the Governor," the minister said it will discuss the matter with the legal experts and give him a reply.

Punjab to move SC

Also on Friday, the Punjab Assembly adopted a resolution seeking immediate repeal of the law and Chief Minister Amarinder Singh said his government would approach the top court against it.

(With inputs from PTI)

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