Former Mizoram Governor and senior Kerala BJP leader Kummanam Rajasekharan on Friday moved the Supreme Court against the state government’s plea challenging the new citizenship law and amendments to the Passport Rules and Foreigners Order.
Seeking impleadment in the petition filed by the state under Article 131 of the Constitution, Rajasekharan said in his application that “the State Government to acquire right to file a suit under Article 131… requires the existence of a dispute involving any question of law or fact on which the existence or extent of a legal right depends”. However, “no such legal dispute exist between the plaintiff State of Kerala and the Union of India and the only dispute that exist is a political dispute”, the plea said, adding that the top court had categorically held in 1978 in the State of Karnataka vs Union of India “that the dispute must involve a question relating to a legal right and not a political right”.
Rajasekharan said the Kerala government’s petition “has not explained how the impugned Act is in any way affecting the legal right of the State and its inhabitants”.
Explained: Centre-state disputes and Article 131
The state government by referring to the resolution passed in the Assembly against CAA has sought to give the impression that all the residents of the state are against the Act but this was not so, said the BJP leader.
It “seems that the cabinet involving ministers representing various political parties constituting Left Democratic Front which is ruling the State which include CPM and CPI has taken a decision to file this original suit on behalf of the State of Kerala even without consulting the Executive Head of the State namely the Governor”, the plea said, adding that Governor Arif Mohammed Khan has supported the CAA. He urged the court to recover the public money spent in filing the petition from the members of cabinet, including the Chief Minister.
The plea filed under Article 131 said that in accordance with the mandate of Article 256 of the Constitution, it “will be compelled to ensure compliance of Impugned Amendment Act and the Rules and Orders, which are manifestly arbitrary, unreasonable, irrational and violative of fundamental rights” and that “thus, there exists a dispute, involving questions of law and fact, between the Plaintiff State of Kerala and the defendant Union of India, regarding the enforcement of legal rights as a State and as well for the enforcement of the fundamental, statutory constitutional and other legal rights of the inhabitants of the State of Kerala”.
Article 131 deals with the power of the Supreme Court to hear disputes between states and between the Centre and states.
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