Damage control exercise ? Consent of State Govt ?

Damage control exercise or an exercise to confuse the people more. Depends on from whose shoulder one looks at it. So from the blanket okay to give citizenship to all non-Muslims from Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan who migrated to India six years back, the Union Home Ministry has ruled that citizenship won’t be given without the consent of the State Government. The immediate question that comes to mind is, what does this mean ? Does it mean that a State Government can ride over a legislation passed by Parliament or does it mean that the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill will be amended in such a way that a clause will be inserted to make the consent of the State Government compulsory ? Or is this another approach to soothe the angst of the people of the North East just before the Lok Sabha elections ? Difficult to say, but the real politiks in the CAB cannot be missed that easily, especially with many allies of the BJP clearly stating their stand against the Bill. Not surprisingly the announcement of the MHA has not gone down well with a number of civil society organisations in Manipur and already some of them have come out to openly question the intent of the Government over the ‘consent of the State Government’ rider. That the said Bill has evoked strong opposition in the North East region should not be too hard to understand. As things stand, the North East States are already feeling the impact of large scale immigration especially from Bangladesh and one just has to recall the days of the Assam agitation that ultimately led to the signing of the Assam Accord in 1985 which laid down the cut off base year as 1971.
It is in taking cognizance of this reality that the Centre is mulling to encourage the immigrants to settle outside the North East region by way of offering sops. How far such an approach will work is anybody’s guess, but it is a reflection of the reality that it is the North East region which will be hit the hardest once the CAB becomes an Act. This is where the question of whether the State Governments can override an Act promulgated by Parliament arises. The Ministry of Home Affairs need to do more than just announce that citizenship will not be given without the consent of the State Government and first make it clear whether the CAB will incorporate certain clauses that empower the State Government to overrule any part of the Bill or Act. The State Government, especially the BJP led Governments in the North East too need to make the matter more clear to the common people for not all are well versed with the legal aspects of any Bill or Act. Or if the announcement from the MHA is any indication that the Centre is ready to bend a little backward to address the sense of anxiety and apprehension of the people of North East, then the respective State Governments should take it upon themselves to exert the needed pressure on the Centre. Or else do not confuse the people more is a line that should not be forgotten especially when it comes to sensitive issues like the CAB.

One Response to "Damage control exercise ? Consent of State Govt ?"

  1. Rusovi John   January 25, 2019 at 3:10 am

    Very informative. Thank you


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