After Kerala Governor Arif Mohammad Khan claimed that the Pinarayi Vijayan government did not consult him before passing a resolution against the contentious Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), the CM has said that no citizen is above the Assembly.
"It is best that those who are speaking now, should spend time reading that book (Constitution). Everything is written in it. This is a country where democracy prevails and not the yesteryear's 'resident' who reigned supreme over local kingdoms. No resident is above the Assembly," Vijayan said on Thursday.
Reiterating that the CAA will not be implemented in Kerala, CM Vijayan said: "Kerala is a fortress of secularism and communal forces will destroy the state. The government will not implement CAA or NRC." He also asked people to remain united and "exclude the communal and extremist elements".
What did the Kerala governor say?
Claiming that "dissent is the essence of democracy", Kerala Governor Arif Mohammad Khan cited the Constitution to accuse the Pinarayi Vijayan government of violating the law on key issues like passing a resolution or challenging the CAA in the Supreme Court, without keeping Khan in the loop.
"My role is to see that the state works according to the rules, I'm not claiming supremacy," said Khan while addressing an impromptu press conference in New Delhi.
He said: "As far as I'm concerned the rules of duties are clear, it's already established how the Chief Minister is supposed to approach me. The CM is duty-bound to approach me before he passes any such orders."
Khan threw the rule book to claim any state government is duty bound to keep the Governor informed about passing any resolution in the Assembly.
"As far as I'm concerned the rules of duties are clear, it's already established how the Chief Minister is supposed to approach me. The CM is duty-bound to approach me before he passes any such orders," he said.
While Khan said that he has no problem with any divergent views be it on the contentious Citizenship Amendment Act, NPR or NRC, all he cares is that rules are followed as stipulated by the Constitution.
"I have no problem with the government, opposition, or anybody holding a different view on CAA, NPR or NRC. Everyone is free...," asserted the Governor. But he added taht the Kerala Government is in violation of rules of the Assembly.
Rebutting allegations that he is working at the behest of the central government, he said: "I am my own spokesperson."
Highlighting, it's not a power tussle between the Governor and the Chief Minister, Khan said, "My role is to see that the state works according to the rules, I'm not claiming supremacy."
Resolution against CAA
The Kerala Assembly had last month passed a resolution demanding the scrapping of the CAA, amid the countrywide protests against the legislation.
The ruling CPI(M)-LDF and the opposition Congress-led United Democratic Front (UDF) supported the resolution, while the BJP's lone MLA and former union minister O Rajagopal's was the only dissenting voice in the one-day special session.
The House adopted the resolution moved by Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan. On the last day of the year, it was a rare moment when the traditional political rivals, the Left Front and the UDF, joined hands to pass the resolution. The day's special session had been convened to discuss the CAA.
In the 140-member Kerala Assembly, the BJP has one legislator. Opening the debate was Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, who pointed out that the entire country was shocked and protests were everywhere against the CAA.
"The world is in astonishment when it read through the intricacies of the CAA, where religion has been the benchmark of this division. And seeing this, the Indian diaspora is in a state of shock. There will be no detention centres in Kerala. India is known for its secularism and that has come under duress. Under no circumstances can this CAA go forward and hence should be withdrawn," said Vijayan.
Kerala moves SC against CAA
Kerala, on Tuesday, January 14, became the first state in the country to move the Supreme Court against the CAA.
The suit - which comes amid a nationwide uproar against CAA - seeks to declare the law as unconstitutional. It has been filed under Article 131 of the Indian Constitution. The Supreme Court is already hearing over 60 petitions against the law.
Article 131 states that the Supreme court is the guardian of the Fundamental Rights guaranteed under Article 14 which states that if there is any kind of violation of the fundamental rights, then one can go directly to the Supreme Court under Article 32 of the Constitution (this being a fundamental right too).
But when there is a dispute which arises between the States of India or between the State Government and the Union Government then it is the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court under Article 131 of the Constitution to resolve these disputes.
Among the others who have already approached the apex court on this includes the Indian Union Muslim League - the second biggest party in the Congress-led United Democratic Front in Kerala and also Leader of Opposition Ramesh Chennithala.
Kerala argues that if the object of CAA is to protect the minorities who faced religious persecution in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Bangladesh, then, the Ahmaddiyas and Shias from these countries are also entitled to same treatment extended to Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, Parsi and Christian communities.