Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Wednesday rejected Bharatiya Janata Party’s criticism of the resolution seeking scrapping of the Citizenship Amendment Act, saying state Assemblies have their own privileges, PTI reported.
The Kerala Assembly had on Tuesday passed a resolution against amended citizenship law. Hours later, Union minister Ravi Shankar Prasad had castigated the chief minister and said only Parliament has the right to frame any law regarding citizenship.
“State Assemblies have its own privileges,” Vijayan told reporters in Thiruvananthapuram. “Such actions are unheard of anywhere. But we cannot rule out anything in the present circumstance as unprecedented things are happening now-a-days in the country.”
Vijayan said the Assemblies have its own special protection and it should not be violated. “Kerala has become the first state to pass a resolution against a law which has been violating the fundamental principles of the Constitution and it has great significance,” the Left Democratic Front leader said.
Prasad again reiterated on Wednesday that state governments have the “constitutional duty” of implementing the laws passed by Parliament, adding the chief ministers who have opposed the implementation should seek appropriate legal opinion before taking such decisions.
MLAs had backed the resolution almost unanimously, with the exception of O Rajagopal, the only Bharatiya Janata Party member in the Assembly. He had called it “illegal” as both Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha have passed the Citizenship Amendment Act.
BJP’s Rajya Sabha member, GVL Narasimha Rao, wrote to the chairperson M Venkaiah Naidu to initiate breach of parliamentary privileges and contempt proceedings against the Kerala chief minister over the resolution.
The chief ministers of Punjab and West Bengal have also opposed the implementation of the amended citizenship law in their states, but Kerala was the first state to take legislature route to oppose the Act.
On December 20, Kerala stopped all work connected to the National Population Register, which is described on the Census of India website as “the first step towards the creation of a National Register of Citizens”. On December 24, the Union government approved funds of Rs 3,900 crore for the National Population Register, which will be rolled out in April 2020. The same day, Union Home Minister Amit Shah said in an interview that the NPR has nothing to do with the National Register of Citizens.
The Citizenship Amendment Act, approved by Parliament on December 11, provides citizenship to refugees from six minority religious communities from Bangladesh, Afghanistan and Pakistan, provided they have lived in India for six years and entered the country by December 31, 2014. The Act has been widely criticised for excluding Muslims.
On the other hand, the National Register of Citizens is a proposed exercise meant to distinguish between genuine Indian citizens and undocumented migrants living in India. One such exercise, conducted earlier this year in Assam, led to the exclusion of 19 lakh people.