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Do states have the power to stop implementation of Citizenship Amendment Act?

Five state governments ruled by non-BJP parties — Punjab, West Bengal, Kerala, Chhattisgarh, and Madhya Pradesh — have assured people they will not implement the Citizenship Amendment Act, 2019, saying “the ruling BJP at the Centre is undermining the secular and democratic foundations of the country

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anti-CAA protester

Five state governments ruled by non-BJP parties — Punjab, West Bengal, Kerala, Chhattisgarh, and Madhya Pradesh — have assured people they will not implement the Citizenship Amendment Act, 2019, saying “the ruling BJP at the Centre is undermining the secular and democratic foundations of the country”.

However, the states don’t really have a choice as matter of citizenship comes under the Union List.

“The states have no power to refuse implementation of the central law as the power to legislate on the matter lies solely with the Central government,” state Home Ministry on Friday.

The Act seeks to provide Indian citizenship to religiously persecuted Hindus, Parsis, Christians, Buddhists, Jains and Sikhs from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan, with a cut-off date of their entry into India on December 31, 2014. Muslims have been excluded from the ambit of the law.

As soon as the Rajya Sabha passed the Bill on Wednesday, Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan announced that his government will not implement the amended Citizenship Act. He said the BJP and the Sangh Parivar have used the party’s majority in Parliament to uproot the bedrock of the Constitution.

Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh also said the Act is “unconstitutional and unethical” and his government won’t allow division of people on religious lines through this Act.

Can a state government oppose a central legislation like the Citizenship Act? What is the extent to which it can oppose its implementation?

To get to the answers to these two fundamental questions, we must understand the basic framework of the Constitution and the distribution of legislative powers between the Union and the state.

The constitutional machinery makes India a quasi-federation, and the distribution of powers is an essential feature of federalism. The Indian Constitution, based on the principle of federalism, has a scheme of two-fold distribution of legislative powers — with respect to the territory; and with respect to the subject matter.

Article 245 talks about the distribution of legislative power between Union and State with respect to the territory. While Article 246 read with Seventh Schedule to the Constitution of India defines and specifies the allocation of powers and functions between Union and states with respect to the subject matter.

The Seventh Schedule divides legislative authority between the Union and the States into three lists — the Union List, the State List, and the Concurrent List. The Union List consists of 99 items.

The Union Parliament has exclusive authority to frame laws on subjects enumerated in the list. These include foreign affairs, defence, armed forces, communications, posts and telegraph, foreign trade, etc.

The State List consists of 61 subjects on which ordinarily the states alone can make laws. These include public order, police, administration of justice, prison, local governments, agriculture, etc.

The Concurrent List comprises 52 items, including criminal and civil procedure, marriage and divorce, economic and special planning trade unions, electricity, newspapers, books, education, population control, and family planning, etc. Both the Parliament and the State legislatures can make laws on subjects given in the Concurrent List.

For any law to be implemented, rules and bye-laws are required. The Parliament while drafting a law, just draws the broad contours of the legislation. The Parliament neither has the time nor the technical understanding to foresee the difficulties which may arise in the execution of the law or to meet certain emergency contingencies that necessitate special measures.

Hence, Parliament grants such powers to the executive to supplement the parent Act. This power of delegating the power to legislate to the lower authority is called as subordinate legislation or delegated legislation in the legal parlance.

Delegated legislation refers to all the residuary law-making, which takes place outside the legislature. The delegated legislation comprises rules, regulations, bye-laws, orders, schemes, etc.

The Subordinate legislation can only be framed under a central or state Act if the Act gives rule-making power to the government.

The powers and the extent to which delegated legislation can be made so as not to vitiate the objective and legislative intent of the legislature is provided in the parent Act. After the rules are published, the Parliament is required to scrutinize them within a stipulated time. However, being an important component in law-making, it is not given adequate attention by the Parliament.

The matter of citizenship, naturalization, and aliens are contained in the entry 17 of Union list under the Seventh Schedule. This gives exclusive power to the Parliament to legislate and the Union executive to frame the subordinate or delegated legislation. The states except for accepting the law in the current form as passed by the Parliament, have no other choice.

Section 11 of the Citizenship Rules, 2009 provides that the authority for processing applications for citizenship lies with the district collector under whose jurisdiction the applicant is ordinarily resident. The district collectors are the functionaries of the state government. Once the application for citizenship is received, the district collector is required to verify the veracity of the information provided and forward it to the state government within 60 days.

As per Section 12 (2) of the Citizenship Rules, the state government is required to forward the application with its recommendations and the report of the collector to the Central Government within a period of 30 days from the date of receipt of the report of the collector.

Under the rules, the state government shall complete the entire process within 90 days. It is at this stage of processing the applications under the Citizenship Amendment Act, 2019, where the state governments could exercise their “choice” not to process any applications.

Anticipating widespread resistance from citizens and the opposition-ruled states, the Modi government has inserted a new section (Section 6B) in the parent Citizenship Amendment Act, 2019.

Sub-section 1 of Section 6B provides:

“The Central Government or an authority specified by it in this behalf may, subject to such conditions, restrictions, and manner as may be prescribed, on an application made in this behalf, grant a certificate of registration or certificate of naturalization to a person referred to in the proviso to clause (b) of sub-section (1) of section 2.”

Though the Citizenship Act, 1955, allows the Union to frame rule, still the Modi government to circumvent whatever little resistance it may face from the state governments and cement its powers, may amend the rules and remove the district collector as the designated authority to process the applications. So in order to completely eliminate the role of the state government, the central government may establish altogether a new authority to work on its behalf.

Hence, if the Modi government decides to remove the state government’s authority to implement the directives of the Act, the states will virtually have no option to exercise their choice

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Arvind Kejriwal 10 promises ahead of Delhi Civic polls, promises corruption-free MCD

Aside from releasing his party’s 10 promises ahead of the MCD polls, the Delhi Chief Minister also scrutinized the BJP for their alleged inadequacy in governing the MCD. The Delhi Chief Minister in his address also urged the public to vote for a party that stops some work, instead vote for a party that does the work. He further added to vote for people who let you do Yoga, instead of voting for people who stop you from doing it.

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MCD elections 2022: AAP announces second list of 117 candidates

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, on Friday, addressed a press conference where he released 10 promises of the Aam Aadmi Party for MCD elections. Delhi CM 10 guarantees for the MCD elections include solving the garbage mountain issues, beautifying Parks, clean streets.

Arvind Kejriwal’s 10 promises include the beautification of Delhi, which will include the elimination of 3 garbage mountains in Delhi. Elimination of corruption inside MCD offices and bringing in measures and transparency to tackle corruption. Regulating minor encroachment done by residents of Delhi. Relief from parking issues in the state of Delhi.

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The Delhi CM while taking cognizance of the stray situation in Delhi also promised to tackle it. He further guaranteed MCD roads to be repaired and looked after if AAP comes to power in MCD polls. The Delhi CM also promised to take care of the schools and hospitals and turn them into a better state.

The rest of the promises include beautifying parks that come under MCD, timely pay of MCD employees, respite in licensing for businessmen. The Delhi CM also promised to take cognizance of Police actions that led to the sealing of shops in Delhi, in order to give the shop owners some relief.

Aside from releasing his party’s 10 promises ahead of the MCD polls, the Delhi Chief Minister also scrutinized the BJP for their alleged inadequacy in governing the MCD. The Delhi Chief Minister in his address also urged the public to vote for a party that stops some work, instead vote for a party that does the work. He further added to vote for people who let you do Yoga, instead of voting for people who stop you from doing it.

The Delhi CM asked the people to vote for people who build schools and vote for people who work for the betterment of Delhi.

MCD Elections

Delhi MCD election will be held on December 4 and votes will be counted on December 7

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CPI’s K Narayana says governor system is not useful, alleges governors are being used as tools by Centre

K Narayana further stated and alleged that governors are being used as a tool to disturb the non-BJP states and further remarked that governors should follow clear guidelines of the constitution. Governors don’t have the right to intervene and demanded the recall of all the governors, stated K Narayana.

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The Communist Party of India’s National secretary, K Narayana, on Thursday, said that the governor model is not useful for India. K Narayana while speaking on the ongoing row between the Telangana Government and governor Tamilisai, as well as in the case of Kerala Governor Arif Khan and Pinarayi Government, launched an attack on the centre and urged the removal of governors from all states.

CPI’s K Narayan in his statement to the press stated that the governor system is not useful for a country like India. He further added that the governors in the non-BJP-led states are creating problems for the state government. He further named West Bengal, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, and the latest Telangana as examples.

K Narayana further stated and alleged that governors are being used as a tool to disturb the non-BJP states and further remarked that governors should follow clear guidelines of the constitution. Governors don’t have the right to intervene and demanded the recall of all the governors, stated K Narayana.

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Telangana Governor and TRS

The remark by CPI K Narayan comes after recently the Telangana governor, Tamilisai Soundararajan accused the state government of phone tapping. The accusations came after the MLA poaching case came to and the TRS outfit named the governor’s former ADS, Tushar Mehta. Governor Soundararajan added to her attack and stated that it has become an undemocratic situation in Telangana.

Pinarayi government and Kerala Governor

Pinarayi government on November 9 removed governor Arif Mohammad Khan as Chancellor of universities after passing an ordinance. The Senior CPIM leader, Thomas Isaac, accused Governor Arif Mohammad Khan of concocting to appoint BJP sympathizers as VCs of universities. Isaac further added that it is not acceptable to the people in the State and further said that there is no choice other than the removal of the Governor from the post of Chancellor.

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Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge replies to BJP’s claims against his party in Himachal Pradesh Rally, says BJP only takes credit

Kharge, rebutting to BJP’s claims also counter-question and alleged that Himachal established and crossed milestones regarding colleges, electricity, and roads. He further added that the BJP is taking credit for the work of the preceding government.

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The newly elected Congress President, Mallikarjun Kharge, on Wednesday, addressed a poll meeting at Banuti in which he retorted to the claims made by the BJP.Congress President in his address talked about alleged baseless claims of Congress’s lack of democracy in the party.

Kharge also expounded on BJP allegedly taking credit for work done by the preceding government in Himachal.

Congress party President Kharge, while addressing the meeting, stated that he has been appointed as the Congress President through a fair voting system and added blasted the BJP’s President, JP Nadda, on how he ended up becoming the Bhartiya Janata Party president, countering claims coined by Bhartiya Janata Party.

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Kharge also alleged and expounded on the questions raised by the BJP government on Congress where the BJP outfit has incessantly launched an attack on Congress while asking what the Congress outfit has done in the last 70 years.

Kharge, rebutting to BJP’s claims also counter-question and alleged that Himachal established and crossed milestones regarding colleges, electricity, and roads. He further added that the BJP is taking credit for the work of the preceding government.

BJP in Himachal Pradesh

Whereas, Congresses counterpart, BJP, has also been rallying across Himachal ahead of Himachal elections. Narendra Modi has also come in to rally for the BJP as he addressed a rally in Sujanpur. Narendra Modi in his address had launched a staunch attack on the Congress Party.

The Prime Minister opined that Congress’s condition have been deteriorating and added that even Congress have been receded and wiped out of their stronghold states. PM Modi further alleged that Congress has long history of making false promises and false guarantees.

Himachal Pradesh assembly elections

The two outfits have been campaigning ahead of the Himachal Pradesh assembly election which is set to be held on November 12. Himachal will witness a single phase polling in 68 Assembly seats and the counting date of the votes will be December 8.
BJP swept the seats in the last assembly elections by winning 44 of 68 seats, whereas, Congress could only tally up to 21 seats.

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