The Supreme Court on Friday noted that states passing resolutions against the Centre’s legislations were not disobeying any law and were only expressing their opinions, Bar and Bench reported.
The court made the observation while hearing a petition challenging the legislative competencies of state Assemblies that passed resolutions against the Citizenship Amendment Act and the farm laws, which fall under the Union List of the Seventh Schedule.
The public interest litigation was filed by a non-governmental organisation named Samata Andolan Samiti. It argued that the legislative Assemblies of Rajasthan, Kerala, Punjab and West Bengal had infringed the fundamental rights of Indian citizens by passing resolutions against central statutes.
The Supreme Court bench headed by Chief Justice of India SA Bobde said the resolutions were the opinions of Assembly members. “They have only asked the Parliament to consider its opinion and abrogate the law passed,” the court said, according to Bar and Bench. “It has no force of law. They are not asking people to disobey law. Don’t they have jurisdiction to express their opinion? They are not disobeying any law.”
Soumya Chakraborty, the petitioner’s lawyer, highlighted the Kerala Assembly’s resolution against the Citizenship Amendment Act and argued that a state cannot indulge in discussions on the subjects in which it has no legislative proficiency.
The lawyer added that 60 petitions against the Citizenship Amendment Act were pending before the Supreme Court, and according to Rule 119 of the Kerala Assembly, the state cannot move a resolution against it, PTI reported.
“We want to know whether this rule of the Assembly has been discussed earlier or not,” the bench said in response, according to PTI. “Show us the case laws if any. Has this rule of legislature never been interpreted before?”
The advocate said that the law had not been interpreted before, after which the court instructed him to check the precedent in such cases. “Do some research and let us know,” the court said, according to Bar and Bench. “We don’t want to create more problems than solving.” The case will now be heard after four weeks.
The Citizenship Amendment Act, notified in 2019, made undocumented non-Muslim migrants from Bangladesh, Afghanistan and Pakistan eligible for Indian citizenship. Protests broke out against the law across the country.
The farm laws, on the other hand, were passed in September 2020. These laws also triggered huge protests. Tens of thousands of farmers, mostly from Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh, have been camping at Delhi’s border points in November, seeking the withdrawal of the laws. Punjab, Chhattisgarh, Delhi, Rajasthan and Kerala and West Bengal have passed resolutions seeking immediate rollback of the three farm laws.