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Federalism as a Moderating Force? State-level Responses to India’s New Citizenship Law

Abstract : This contribution focuses on the response of India’s states to the central government’s controversial decision to amend the country’s citizenship law. Since the legislation was passed in late 2019, a dozen states and Union territories as well as hundreds of local bodies have expressed their dissent in various ways. Mobilizing both substantive and procedural arguments, they have passed resolutions and pledged not to implement the law and related measures in their jurisdictions. The paper maps the chronology of these actions, describes the key arguments and motivations, and situates them within the broader context of India’s federal system. It argues that Centre-state relations have deteriorated in recent years with increasing centralization under the leadership of the Bharatiya Janata Party, whose strong majority in Parliament has allowed it to pursue its agenda without check from coalition partners. Dissenting state governments, often taking the cue from their own mobilized citizens, are asserting their prerogative to defend and protect secular values as well as the fundamental rights contained in the Constitution. In this sense, the federal framework, operating as a power sharing mechanism, acts as a moderating force on the central government’s political agenda.
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Contributor : Loraine Kennedy Connect in order to contact the contributor
Submitted on : Saturday, December 19, 2020 - 7:07:57 PM
Last modification on : Wednesday, November 3, 2021 - 8:14:53 AM

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Loraine Kennedy. Federalism as a Moderating Force? State-level Responses to India’s New Citizenship Law. South Asia Multidisciplinary Academic Journal, Association pour la recherche sur l'Asie du Sud, 2020, ⟨10.4000/samaj.6896⟩. ⟨halshs-03083819⟩



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