After five states ruled by Opposition parties declared that they may not implement the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, the home ministry said that it wasn’t their call to take. Senior government officials said that once the Centre issues the notification to bring the new amendments into force, the state governments will have to abide by the law of the land.
“This is the constitutional scheme of thing and a government cannot run any way other than in accordance with the Constitution,” a senior government official said.
The official suggested that the statements by the chief ministers appeared to be in the nature of political positioning and headline hunting rather than anything else.
Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan was among the first to declare that it would not implement the new citizenship law which it considers to be “unconstitutional”.
The Citizenship Amendment Act has amended the definition of an illegal immigrant for Hindu, Sikh, Parsi, Christian, Jain, and Buddhist from Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Afghanistan, who entered India without documentation before 31 December 2014.
According to these changes, people of these communities will get entitled to get Indian citizenship in six years - instead of 12 years - and the cut off date is December 31, 2014. Besides, once they apply, they will get insulated from all proceedings for entering the country illegally.