Calling the questions being raised over the legality of the Kerala government’s legislative and legal challenge to the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA) an orchestrated campaign, Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said on Sunday that not only was his government’s move constitutionally valid but that other state governments too, taking a cue from Kerala, had rejected the CAA and called for its repeal.
Seeking to counter the “disinformation campaigns” regarding the Kerala Legislative Assembly’s resolution against the CAA, his government’s cabinet decision and its litigation in the Supreme Court, Vijayan said the state ministers’ oath as prescribed by the Constitution mandated them to uphold the Constitution.
“That is precisely what the Kerala government is doing right now,” he said. Its suit in the apex court is under Article 131 of the Constitution, which gives the SC original jurisdiction in any dispute between the Union and state governments on legal rights or their existence or extent.
The Kerala government’s plea before the SC seeks that the CAA be declared in violation of Articles 14, 21 and 25 — equality before the law, protection of life and personal liberty, and freedom to profess and practise any religion.
Vijayan was delivering a special address on the ‘National struggle against communalism’ at the Mumbai Collective, a two-day event of panel discussions and performances on the theme of protecting constitutionality and democracy. The Kerala CM also saluted the student community and young Indians undertaking peaceful protests across the country. “India’s young citizens have come together to reject the attempt to polarise our people on communal lines,” he said.
Vijayan further said the CAA had imperilled India’s constitutional values and must be rejected on three grounds: it was against the letter and spirit of the Constitution; it was divisive and discriminatory; and “sought to impose the politics and philosophy of Hindutva, with its vision of a Hindu Rashtra on our entire people and on the basic structure of our polity”.
He quoted Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh’s ideologue M S Golwalkar’s book, We, or Our Nationhood Defined, to contend that underlying the CAA was the Sangh Parivar’s ultimate goal of a Hindu Rashtra. He quoted two sentences from the book, pertaining to a “lesson” for India from Germany’s anti-Semitic attempt in that period. “In the past, our movement was against colonisers. In the present, our struggle against communalism is a movement against those who stood with colonisers,” he said.
He called for protests against the CAA to continue in multiple realms, including state legislature resolutions, in court and through peaceful agitations. While the freedom struggle immortalised the first half of the 20th century in India, “in these early years of the 21st century, it will be our national struggle against communalism that will define us and our history,” he said.
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