After Congress leader Kapil Sibal on Saturday said that there is no way a state can deny the implementation of the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) when it is already passed by the Parliament and claimed that doing so would be "unconstitutional", another party leader has backed his views. Senior party leader and former Union Minister Salman Khurshid said that the Congress still opposes the CAA but the states cannot do much about it until the Supreme Court intervenes in the and declares it "unconstitutional".
Speaking to news agency ANI, Khurshid said, "I think you need to discuss it at a greater length because small single sentences can give you wrong expressions. As far as I understand, our position is that the constitutional position of CAA is doubtful. But it is in the statute books and if the SC does not interfere then it will remain on the statute books. It something is on the statute books then everyone has to obviously obey the law and if you do not obey the law, there will be consequences."
The former Union Minister added that this is a matter where state governments have a "very serious difference of opinion" with the Centre as far as CAA is concerned. "We should await the final pronouncement by the Supreme Court, till then just as the government says this is entirely legal, they (the states) will continue to say, 'No, we do not believe this is legal' but ultimately it is the Supreme Court that will decide and till then everything said, done, not done is provisional and tentative,” he said.
“If the CAA is passed no State can say ‘I will not implement it’. It is not possible and is unconstitutional. 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,” said Kapil Sibal on the third day of the Kerala Literature Festival (KLF).
The Kerala government earlier this week moved the Supreme Court against the CAA, seeking to declare it “violative of the principles of equality, freedom and secularism enshrined in the Constitution”. It was the first State government to challenge the Act and the Kerala Assembly was the first to pass a resolution against the law. Following in the southern State’s footsteps, the Punjab Assembly on Friday passed a resolution demanding to scrap the contentious law. Several State governments including Kerala, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, West Bengal and Maharashtra have voiced their disagreement with the CAA as well as National Register of Citizens (NRC) and National Population Register (NPR).