New Delhi: The Rajasthan assembly on Saturday passed a resolution against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA), becoming the third legislative assembly in the country to urge the Centre to repeal the law. The Congress-ruled state follows in the footsteps of Kerala (where the Left alliance is in power) and Punjab (also ruled by the Congress).
According to NDTV, several BJP leaders rushed to the well of the house and shouted slogans in favour of the Act as the resolution was adopted.
The resolution says that the CAA “is aimed at distinguishing illegal migrants on the basis of religion” and such discrimination “is not in consonance with the secular ideas enshrined in the Constitution”. The Act is “clearly violative” of Article 14, which says that the state shall not deny to any person equality before the law or the equal protection of the laws within the territory of India, the resolution says.
“This is the first time in the history of the country that a law has been enacted which discriminates people on religious grounds,” the assembly’s resolution says, according to NDTV. “It is for this reason that the CAA has caused deep anguish and widespread protest all over the country,” it says. The resolution also mentions that proposed nationwide National Register of Citizens (NRC).
The state’s chief minister Ashok Gehlot has repeatedly said the state government will not implement the CAA and NRC in the state.
Protests have erupted across the country against the amended act. Some have expressed fear that if seen together with the NRC, the CAA could be used to disenfranchise Indian Muslims. The Centre has rubbished these claims, saying the Act is only meant to provide citizenship to refugees fleeing religious persecution from Afghanistan, Pakistan and Bangladesh.
Pinarayi Vijayan’s Kerala was the first state in the country to oppose the Act through a resolution against it in the assembly in December 2019. The Congress, which is the principal opposition in the state, also supported the resolution. Only one member, belonging to the BJP, opposed it. The state has also challenged the law before the Supreme Court, saying it “violates the fundamental principles of the Constitution and it has great significance”.
On January 17, the Congress-ruled Punjab also passed a resolution in the assembly. Chief minister Amarinder Singh said his government would not allow the implementation of the “brazenly divisive CAA”.
Reports suggest that the West Bengal assembly may follow suit and move a resolution against the CAA in the state assembly. “The resolution will be brought at 11 a.m. on January 27,” the state’s parliamentary affairs minister Partha Chatterjee said earlier this week.
While some have said that the resolutions passed by state assemblies are “invalid” because citizenship comes under the Central list, The Wire has reported that state assemblies can pass resolutions on any subject, to express the collective opinion of their members. “The resolutions are perfectly valid, but they will have no effect if the Supreme Court favours the Centre, after hearing the petitions filed by the states on the subject.”