Kerala Governor Arif Mohammad Khan on Thursday expressed displeasure at the state government for moving the Supreme Court against the Citizenship Amendment Act without informing him, NDTV reported. Khan said that “common courtesy demanded that prior permission” should have been taken from him.
The Kerala government had challenged the Act in the Supreme Court in a plea filed on Tuesday. It was the first state to do so. The Supreme Court will hear around 60 pleas against the Act on January 22.
“I’m not saying that what they did is wrong,” Khan told reporters. “They may have every right to approach the Supreme Court. But the common courtesy demanded that prior permission [should have been] taken from me...at least I should have been kept in the loop.” Khan suggested that the state government’s action might have constituted a breach of privilege.
“Clearly, I am not just a rubber stamp,” Khan added, according to ANI.
He also suggested that he would examine whether a state was allowed to approach the court without permission from the governor. “The constitutional head of the state is getting to know about this through newspapers that the state government is challenging a law passed by the Parliament,” he said.
Khan added, according to PTI: “Even the rules of the Assembly provide that the legislature shall not discuss any subject which does not come under their constitutional jurisdiction. I have no problem if they go to the Supreme Court. Even there I feel, without informing the constitutional head of the state, what they have done is improper.”
The Citizenship Amendment Act, approved by Parliament on December 11 and notified on January 10, 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 19 people have died in Uttar Pradesh alone during clashes between the police and those protesting against the Act, and 26 nationwide.