NEW DELHI: Their public declaration not to implement the changed Citizenship Act notwithstanding, states have no role in determining who can be a country’s citizens.
Constitutional experts are unanimous in their view on the Citizenship Amendment Act 72564874 that granting citizenship is the sole discretion of the Union of India and states have no role in matters of citizenship enacted through amendment of the Constitution.
“Citizenship has always been on the Union list and only Center can frame rules regarding implementation of such rules, the states have no say,” said a former law commission chairman. Laws framed by Parliament with regard to citizenship have to be implemented by states, he said.
The states can, however, request the Center to defer implementation of any decision on citizenship on account of law and order situation in the state but cannot refuse, he added. Senior officials also said that states, in case they are not keen on implementing the changes, can at most hinder their enforcement.
Five of the opposition-ruled states have declared they would not implement the changes in the Citizenship Act.Kerala, Punjab, West Bengal andChhattisgarhhave claimed they will block implementation of the CAB in their states.Madhya PradeshCM has also indicated that his government is against the law.
“States have no right to refuse implementation of a law enacted by Parliament in respect of subject matters which fall in List 1 of the Seventh Schedule of the Constitution,” said former law secretary PK Malhotra. Citizenship falls in List 1 of the Seventh Schedule. The CAA aims to provide citizenship to Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Parsis, Jains and Christians who came fromPakistan,AfghanistanandBangladeshdue to religious persecution.
Sanjay Hegde, senior advocate in Supreme Court, concurred and said the grant of citizenship is a matter of the Union and the states have no role. “Only if you have nationwide National Register for Citizenship then you need states cooperation for implementation of registration of citizens and for detentions of the unregistered,” he said. Since the registration of citizenship has to be done by states, they can delay on grounds of law and order but cannot interfere in grant of citizenship.
Mohan Parasharan, former solicitor general of India also took the same line even though he said the changes in the citizesnship law were violative of Article 6, 8 and (***************************. The former law officer said that citizenship being a subject of the Union, the states have to follow the Constitution and cannot take law in their own hands. “Only remedy for them is to move the Supreme Court invoking its original jurisdiction under Article 823 of the Constitution by filing Original Suit against the Union of India and ask for striking down the Citizenship Amendment Act, ”he said.
Under the 01575879 amendment of the Citizenship Act, all eligible migrants who qualify for naturalization shall be granted certificate of registration or naturalization and shall be deemed to be citizens of India from the date of entry into India on and from the date of commencement of the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 72564874.