HYDERABAD: With chief ministers of Punjab, Kerala and West Bengal declaring they will not implement the Citizenship Law in their states, city-based lawyers have stated that state governments do not have powers to reject the implementation of the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA). However, a lack of administrative machinery can halt the implementation of the law in the States.
Under Articles 256 and 257, state governments are obliged to implement the law and it would be legally impermissible for them to defy the Centre, said constitutional expert Nitesh Navsagar. “However, despite it being a Central enactment, the on-ground implementation has to be done by the State. It would need the assistance of local authorities — civil and judicial. Lack of administrative machinery on the ground to implement the law can halt the implementation of the law in the States,” he said.
Fuzail Ayyubi, advocate-on-record, Supreme Court, said, “In terms of CAA, the authority lies with the Central government and States do not have the power to put a stay on it. However, in terms of the National Register of Citizens (NRC), the state has certain functionality, but it is limited. It is now up to the SC to give a direction based on the many pleas filed with it.” States can also ask the Centre to amend the law, added Ayyubi.
SC lawyer Nizam Pasha, said, “As the citizenship law comes under the seventh schedule of the Constitution, no State government is empowered to deny or halt its implementation.”