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Can’t impose Act: Anand Sharma

Anand Sharma said that the CAA breaches Clause VI of the Assam Accord

By A Staff Reporter in Guwahati
  • Published 22.01.20, 12:57 AM
  • Updated 22.01.20, 12:57 AM
  • 2 mins read
Sharma said under Article 131 of the Constitution, a state can oppose and challenge an Act that it considers unconstitutional. (PTI)

The Congress deputy leader in the Rajya Sabha and former Union minister Anand Sharma on Tuesday said the Centre cannot impose an Act on a state that considers the law unconstitutional.

“One cannot impose something upon a state which in its view and the view of the legislature of the state, is unconstitutional,” said Sarma here, referring to the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA).

Sharma was here as chairman of a parliamentary standing committee on strengthening autonomous district councils to hear from different stakeholders.

The hearing was held on Monday evening.

Sharma’s comment came two days after Congress leader Kapil Sibal said in Kerala that a state cannot deny the implementation of CAA when it is already passed by Parliament.

Sharma said under Article 131 of the Constitution, a state can oppose and challenge an Act that it considers unconstitutional.

“The state legislature has the right to pass a resolution and file its own petition with the Supreme Court. It is the constitutional right of a state,” he said.

He added that states like Bengal, Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh, Punjab, Kerala and Jharkhand have already opposed the CAA.

“The CAA is in direct conflict with the Constitution of India. It fails the constitutional and morality test. It has created a feeling of insecurity and fear throughout the country. It has thrown Assam, the Northeast and the rest of the country into turmoil,” he said.

Besides, Sharma said, the CAA breaches Clause VI of the Assam Accord.

He took a dig at Assam chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal and his cabinet colleague Himanta Biswa Sarma for saying “different things” on the Assam Accord.

“According to the Assam Accord, 1971 was the cut-off date. Now they have brought it to 2014,” said Sharma.

Sarma had triggered a controversy with his speech in the Assam Assembly, emphasising on 1966 as the “base

year” mentioned by Clause 5 of the Assam Accord for detection of illegal migrants while skipping the Accord’s clear mention of 1971 as the cut-off date of detection, deletion and deportation of illegal migrants.

According to the CAA, non-Muslim communities entering India before December 31, 2014 from Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan because of religious persecution will get citizenship.

Sharma also criticised the state government’s response and police action on anti-CAA protesters.

“Where was the need of imposing curfew and police resorting to fire bullets in Guwahati or other parts of the country? This was uncalled for. It has affected the Indian image globally, tourism and

investment into the country. Altogether 53 countries

have issued advisories to their citizens not to visit India,” he said.

Sharma said Prime Minister Narendra Modi “will go down in history as the Prime Minister who ruined India’s strong economy, dented India’s credibility as a constitutional democracy and as one who was responsible for creating unprecedented fear and insecurity in the minds of the people”.

He said the BJP government’s tenure would be remembered as a dark chapter in independent India’s history.