Congress leader Kapil Sibal made headlines on Saturday when he said that the refusal to implement CAA by States would be unconstitutional. He made those comments while speaking at the Kerala Literature Festival (KLF) held in Kozhikode. His comments come at a time when the Congress-ruled States refused to implement the law passed by both Houses of the Parliament and have been spreading canards about the Act.
#WATCH Senior Congress leader Kapil Sibal in Kozhikode, Kerala: Constitutionally, it will be difficult for any state government to say that ‘I will not follow a law passed by Parliament’. #CitizenshipAmendmentAct pic.twitter.com/tNeSt5h0e5
— ANI (@ANI) January 18, 2020
Kapil Sibal said that CAA is national legislation and no state can go about saying that it will not implement CAA. He also stressed on the importance of not scoring political brownies. Sibal highlighted that a State is within its right to oppose the law or pass a resolution in the Assembly asking the Union Government to withdraw it. He stated that NRC is loosely based on NPR, the implementation of which has to be carried out by the local registrar. He questioned whether the State Government is going to oppose its own state-level officers.
Sibal reiterated that a State cannot however constitutionally prevent the implementation of a law passed by the Parliament. He asserted that such a move would be “problematic” and pave the way for many difficulties.
He said, “When you come to national politics, I think we all must stand together because this is national legislation. So, we should not be scoring political points. You must know that if the CAA is passed, no state can say ‘I will not implement it’. That is not possible. That is unconstitutional. You can oppose it. You can pass a resolution in the Assembly and ask the Central government to withdraw it (to say please withdraw it)”.
Kapil Sibal further added, “But constitutionally to say that I will not implement it is going to be problematic and it is going to create more difficulty. So, what we need to do is politically get together, fight this battle and let the Congress party nationally lead the charge”.
On the sidelines of the event, he had also urged all opposition parties to stay united and allow the Indian National Congress to lead the Anti-CAA movement at the national level.
Interestingly, commenting on the statements made by Kapil Sibal, senior Congress leader Salman Khurshid too supported his stand. Khurshid said, “If the SC doesn’t interfere, it’ll remain on the statute book. If something is on the statute book, you have to obey the law, else there are consequences”.
The statements coming from Kapil Sibal and Salman Khurshid are rather interesting considering Congress has been fuelling unrest and spreading canards over CAA and even NRC throughout the country. In fact, Congress-ruled states along with the Left have also asserted that they will not implement CAA, NRC or even NPR.
The Communist Kerela Government had earlier filed a petition in the Supreme Court against the CAA. It is of the view that the law is “discriminatory” and violative of the basic structure of the Constitution.
The Government had also passed a resolution in the State Assembly, asking the Union Government to scrap the law. The Congress-ruled Punjab was quick to follow the footsteps of the Kerala government.
Kamal Nath, the Chief Minister of Congress-ruled Madhya Pradesh had also asserted that he will not be implementing CAA in the state. “Any law that is anti-people, anti-constitution, anti-society, anti-religion will not be implemented in Madhya Pradesh till Congress is in power,” Kamal Nath had said after leading a march against the CAA in Bhopal.
The statement made by the Congress old guard directly contradicts the rigid stand to “not implement CAA” held by the Chief Ministers of the Congress-ruled states such as Rajasthan, and Madhya Pradesh.