Kerala Governor Arif Mohammad Khan on Thursday said the resolution passed by the state Assembly demanding the withdrawal of the Citizenship Amendment Act has no constitutional or legal validity, India Today reported.
“This resolution has absolutely no constitutional or legal validity,” Khan said according to PTI. “Citizenship comes exclusively in the domain of the Central list. The state government has no role. So, why these people engaged in something which is a non-issue for Kerala?”
The Kerala Assembly had passed the resolution on Tuesday. Union minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said on Wednesday that only the Parliament, and not any state Assembly, has the right to pass any law regarding citizenship.
On Thursday, the governor said that Kerala has not been affected by Partition and there are no undocumented migrants in the state.
Khan also criticised the Indian History Congress, held in Kannur, where protests had been raised against him for his remarks on the Citizenship Amendment Act. He said the Indian History Congress has recommended to the Kerala government that it not cooperate with the Centre, a recommended he called “totally illegal” and having “criminal content”.
However, Congress leader and Leader of Opposition Ramesh Chennithala criticised Khan, saying the state Assembly has the power to pass the resolution.
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, leading to protests against it. At least 26 people have died so far in the protests, which have turned violent at times.
Last month, Kerala had also decided to stop work on the National Population Register. On December 24, the Union Cabinet approved funds of more than Rs 3,900 crore to update the National Population Register. This register, which is linked to the census and is a list of “usual residents” in the country, is described by the Census of India as “the first step towards the creation of a National Register of Citizens”.
The National Register of Citizens is a proposed exercise to distinguish undocumented immigrants living in India from genuine Indian citizens. One such exercise, carried out in Assam last year, led to the exclusion of 19 lakh people.