In a rare show of unity, the Kerala assembly on Tuesday passed a resolution demanding that the Centre withdraw the Citizenship (Amendment) Act 2019 immediately, making the state the first to oppose the controversial law legislatively.
Speaker P Sreeramakrishnan said by passing the resolution, the assembly has ‘raised its status’ and Kerala has led by example, though it is moot that the resolution will have any impact beyond its symbolism.
All members of the serving LDF and the opposition UDF supported the resolution moved by CM Pinarayi Vijayan in the special session, saying the amended law was damaging to the basic values of India’s Constitution and secularism. O Rajagopal, the lone BJP MLA in the 140-member House, opposed the resolution, terming it “illegal and unconstitutional”.
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Union law minister Ravi Shankar Prasad, who is in Kerala as part of a campaign to clarify on CAA, dismissed the resolution, saying that the state should have sought proper legal advice before venturing beyond its brief. “It is only Parliament which has got the power to make law in this regard and no other assembly, including Kerala assembly (has the power),” he said.
The resolution said CAA is in violation of the Right to Equality stated in Part III of the Constitution. “Considering rising concerns among majority of people about possible discrimination based on religion under the CAA, which would also destroy the concept of secularism envisaged by the Indian Constitution, the Kerala legislative assembly requests the central government to initiate measures to cancel the Act,” it said. Though UDF suggested an amendment to the resolution asking the Centre to stop all procedures for implementing the CAA until further decision, Vijayan said the Union government could withdraw it immediately through an ordinance and any request for interim measures would weaken the resolution.
Inputs from TOI