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Why states are passing resolutions against CAA to take on Modi govt

The state governments passing resolutions or issuing statements saying they would not implement the CAA do not have that option legally. Politically, the Opposition-ruled states can resort to “non-cooperation” with the Modi government until the Supreme Court settles the debate.

Chief Ministers of several states have said they will not implement the CAA in their respective states. (Photo: Nelanshu Shukla/India Today)

The Congress seems to deliberately playing underdog as protests over the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) continue to rage with Opposition-ruled state assemblies passing resolutions against the amended citizenship law.

Left Front-ruled Kerala and Congress-ruled Chhattisgarh governments have already approached the Supreme Court calling the CAA unconstitutional.

Some of the chief ministers such as Mamata Banerjee of West Bengal and Pinarayi Vijayan of Kerala have also been reported as saying that they would not implement the CAA. Constitutionally, no state in India can refuse to implement a law that has been passed by Parliament and notified by the central government.

The states can challenge a law if Parliament infringes upon the rights of the state legislatures in its enactment. But in this case, citizenship is in the Union List as a subject. Thus, Article 246 of the Constitution makes Parliament the sole authority to legislate on the matters related to citizenship. The states cannot reject a law passed by Parliament.


Again, Article 245 declares that “no law made by Parliament shall be deemed to be invalid on the ground that it would have extra territorial operation”. This takes out the state governments’ right to refuse implementation of the CAA through a resolution or statement calling it unconstitutional, until the courts declare it as such.

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