With States and the Central government toughening their stand over Citizen’s Amendment Act (CAA) a major constitutional and political showdown is in the offing.
After the Kerala Assembly passing a resolution demanding the Centre to scrap the controversial CAA several other opposition ruled states are threatening to follow suit. According to reports emanating from various capitals a large number of states are planning to pass similar resolutions in due course of time. The protest against CAA is spreading like wild fire across the country. But the Union Government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Home Minister Amit Shah, Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad are vehemently defending the act.
All opposition – ruled states are on war path against the bill. They are above seven states now. West Bengal and Congress ruled states like Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh, Punjab are formulating their plans, according to reports. In Tamil Nadu opposition DMK’s leader M K Stalin has threatened to move an anti CAA resolution in the assembly. NDA’s allies in Bihar and Odissa have also raised the banner of revolt against a similar bill, National Register of Citizens. These states have threatened not to implement the CAA.
The Central Government is evolving its strategy to oppose the stiff resistance to the act. The political and constitutional aspects of this will be fully revealed in the days to come. Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan has already defended the State Assembly’s move by asserting that its comes under the privileges of the law making body. It goes without saying that a major political and also constitutional confrontation is brewing between the warring groups. It may be noted that the Kerala Assembly’s resolution was a unanimously passed one by all members except the lone BJP member.
Tearing into the Kerala arguments against the CAA, Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said the resolution was against the Constitution and Parliament. He said the state should have received better legal advises. He wondered how a Government that have taken oath on the constitution took such a stand. He pointed out various articles in the constitution including articles 245, 246 and 256 to cement his arguments.
Rajya Sabha Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu will soon take a decision on a breach of privilege notice filed against Vijayan by BJP M.P. GVL Narasimha Rao. This is going to be a decisive turn.
Constitutional experts, political observers and other interested citizens are waiting for the outcome of the tussle.
According to Kerala Governor Arif Mohammed khan this resolution has no constitutional validity as citizenship is exclusively a central subject.
According to constitutional and political experts the current crisis has got far reaching repercussions. India’s federal structure and concurrent list are in question and also the division of powers in the constitution, it is underlined. The coming days are no doubt suspense – ridden.
From P V Thomas in New Delhi