'Mandatory for all states to implement CAB'

Updated: Dec 16, 2019, 07:39 IST | Dharmendra Jore | Mumbai

Aney said the Centre could have avoided the situation by taking states into confidence before taking up a draft bill for consideration and approval of the Parliament

A pedestrian walks past a wall graffiti opposing the CAB, in Guwahati. Pic/ PTI
A pedestrian walks past a wall graffiti opposing the CAB, in Guwahati. Pic/ PTI

The state government's refusal to enforce the Citizenship Amendment Bill (CAB) may even lead to the President's Rule, says constitutional expert and former advocate general Shreehari Aney, adding that it was compulsory for all states to have the existing law, which was amended recently, implemented in letter and spirit.

The CAB has received brickbats from the states run by the BJP opponents, including Maharashtra where three parties, the Shiv Sena, Nationalist Congress Party and the Congress, have taken a strong anti-CAB stand. Many states have said they will not implement it and the Congress has demanded that the Shiv Sena-led state government too should refuse the amended law. Sena had supported the Bill in Lok Sabha but abstained from voting in Rajya Sabha because the Union government had not answered its questions on the issue.

However, Aney said since the law was passed by the Parliament, it was mandatory for all states to implement it. He said there could be difficulties because of political differences between the Centre and states, and the constitutional understanding of the (amended) law. "The law is legal because it has been passed. However, the Parliament or states cannot decide on its validity. The court has to decide on this," said the former advocate general of Maharashtra.

When asked what the Centre could do to make the states implement the law, he said the Centre could take certain decisions like delegating it (he said it has already been done in this case) and issue notification. He said the law wasn't new but existed for decades.

"The existing law has been amended. The difficulties (in implementing) will be mechanical that the Centre can deal with. The (adamant) states may also see a complete breakdown of machinery and then the Centre may also go for the President's Rule if refusal persists." Commenting on the conflicts between the Centre and state, he recalled that CMs like Arvind Kejriwal had to protest when AAP government wasn't in favour of certain legislations.

Aney said the Centre could have avoided the situation by taking states into confidence before taking up a draft bill for consideration and approval of the Parliament. "The law is also about states where its ramifications are being seen now. States like Assam, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal and many others will get affected by this law," he said.

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