Ashok Gehlot and Sachin Pilot
Ashok Gehlot and Sachin Pilot
Photo by FPJ Correspondent

Rajasthan on Saturday became the third state to pass a resolution against the Citizenship Amendment Act in the state Assembly.

Earlier, Kerala and Punjab had done so.

According to an NDTV article, even as the state Assembly passed the resolution, several BJP leaders rushed to the well of the house, shouting slogans in favour of the CAA.

"Discrimination of people on the grounds of religion is not in consonance with the secular ideas enshrined in the Constitution and is clearly violative of Article 14," the publication quotes the resolution as stating. Reportedly the resolution adds that such a discriminatory law has been enacted for the first time in India.

The Kerala Assembly had earlier passed a resolution demanding scrapping of the contentious Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), becoming the first state in the country to do so.

Vijayan has called the law unconstitutional, and the two main parties in the state assembly, the CPI(M) and the rival Congress, joined hands to back the resolution.

Soon after, many officials criticised the move, with Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad adding that only the Parliament has the power to pass law with regard to subjects under the Seventh Schedule.

Pointing at the Kerala Assembly resolution seeking scrapping of the Act, he had insisted that Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan should get better legal advice on the issue.

"The law relates to six persecuted communities of three countries -- Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan ... This law is binding on the entire country. CAA is not related to any Indian Muslim," he had said.

More recently, on January 18, the Punjab government too followed suit.

Calling the Act "inherently discriminatory" and a "negation of the secular fabric on the Constitution", the Assembly passed the resolution, moved by Parliamentary Affairs Minister Brahm Mohindra, by voice vote after three hours of discussion.

The opposition Shiromani Akali Dal, an ally of the BJP, had opposed the resolution in its present form, but asserted that it would not back a nationwide National Register of Citizens (NRC).

The ruling Congress, main opposition Aam Aadmi Party and the Lok Insaaf Party supported the resolution saying the law would "spoil the secular fabric of the country", but the BJP opposed it.

Many believe that it is unconstitutional to refuse to implement an Act passed by Parliament.

As Congress leader Kapil Sibal put it, "You can oppose it, you can pass a resolution in the Assembly and ask the central government to withdraw it. But constitutionally saying that I won't implement it is going to be problematic and going to create more difficulties".

"If the CAA is passed no state can say 'I will not implement it'. It is not possible and is unconstitutional," the former Minister of law and justice said.

Earlier this week, the Supreme Court made it clear that it would not stay the operation of the CAA without without hearing the Centre and said that a five-judge Constitution bench would decide its validity.

Seeking response of the central government in four weeks on a batch of pleas challenging the CAA, the top court also restrained high courts in the country from proceedings with pending petitions on the issue.

"We are not going to pass any ex-parte order without hearing Centre on the aspects of interim relief," a bench headed by Chief Justice S A Bobde said.

Taking note of vehement opposition of the Centre, represented by Attorney General K K Venugopal and Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, the bench observed "according to the government this relief is akin to granting stay on the Act".

The observation assumes significance as a battery of senior lawyers led by Kapil Sibal and A M Singhvi vehemently sought judicial intervention and demanded that the operation of the CAA and National Population Register (NPR) processes be stopped for a couple of months till apex court decides the petitions.

(With inputs from agencies)

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