Kerala Governor Arif Mohammad Khan has said the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) is the subject of the central list and it will have to be implemented.
Taking the Government of Kerala head on, he said, “There is no way other than implementing the act. It will have to be implemented under Article 254,” Khan told reporters in response to a question on some states refusing to implement the new law.
The Governor, who is at loggerheads with the Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan for having filed a petition in the Supreme Court under Article 131, said everyone should understand ‘one’s own jurisdiction.’
“You may give your arguments by using your intellect, you have the right to challenge it in the Supreme Court but the citizenship act is the subject of Union List and not a state subject,” he said while addressing the media at a programme in Jaipur on January 18.
Khan said people can be adamant about their opinion but cannot go beyond the boundary of law. He had ciriticised the Kerala government for having not informed him before moving the Supreme Court.
Weighing on the protests, he said it was not the first time protests were happening in the country. “A bigger protest happened in 1986 when a Supreme Court judgment was reversed,” he said, without elaborating the verdict he was referring to.
After Kerala, the Punjab Assembly adopted a resolution seeking immediate repeal of the law and Chief Minister Amarinder Singh said his the government would approach the top court against it.
The country has been witnessing a string of protests against the newly amended Citizenship Law and some of them turned violent last month. Some opposition parties too have opposed it, saying the law is discriminatory.
The central government has said the law grants Indian citizenship to religious minorities escaping persecution in Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh and does not take away anyone’s citizenship.
Khan, who is in Jaipur as chief guest, attended a programme based on Indian chronology — the Ramayana and the Mahabharata eras, he said the Indian tradition had been one of knowledge and wisdom which needed revival. The Indian civilisation was a living and continuing one, Khan said.
“The Indian tradition is a reflective tradition and not prescriptive. Indian civilisation is living and continuing. The continuity of other civilisations has finished,” he said.
He said the word ‘religion’ has a vast meaning and it is not limited to rituals and customs.
(With inputs from agencies)