Centre gets 7th extension to frame rules for Citizenship Act

The Parliamentary Committees gave their nod another time to extend rules for the CAA taking cognizance of a request made by the MHA as the earlier extension ended on October 9.
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Representative ImageANI

NEW DELHI: The Union Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has been granted an extension for the seventh time from the Parliamentary Committees on Subordinate Legislation in the Rajya Sabha and the Lok Sabha to frame the rules for the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA), 2019, said sources on Tuesday.

The time to frame CAA rules has been extended till December 31 this year by the Parliamentary Committees on Subordinate Legislation in the Rajya Sabha, and till January 9, 2023, by the Parliamentary Committees on Subordinate Legislation in the Lok Sabha.

The Parliamentary Committees gave their nod another time to extend rules for the CAA taking cognizance of a request made by the MHA as the earlier extension ended on October 9.

The Citizenship Amendment Act was passed by Parliament on December 11, 2019, and the Presidential approval came the next day.

In January 2020, the Ministry notified that the Act would come into force from January 10, 2020, but it later requested the Parliamentary Committees in the Rajya Sabha and the Lok Sabha to give it some more time to implement rules as the country was going through its worst ever health crisis due to Covid-19 pandemic.

Earlier, the MHA had sought time from the Parliamentary Committees for similar extensions six times. The first extension was granted in June 2020 for notifying CAA rules.

The legislation, which grants citizenship to illegal immigrants belonging to Hindu, Jain, Sikh, Parsi, Christian and Buddhist communities from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan, was passed by Parliament amid vehement criticism from the Opposition that pointed out the communal agenda behind the law as it conspicuously left out Muslims.

The legislation has been interpreted in conjunction with repeated assertions by Home Minister Amit Shah -before the Act was passed -that there would be a nationwide exercise to prepare the National Register of Indian Citizens (NRC) to identify illegal immigrants.

This was interpreted as a project to disenfranchise Muslims. While nationwide protests were seen following the passage of the law, and multiple states have announced they would not implement the law.

However, the law is yet to be implemented as rules under the CAA are yet to be framed. As per the Manual on Parliamentary Work, in case the Ministries/Departments are not able to frame the rules within the prescribed period of six months of Presidential approval, they should "seek an extension of time from the Committee on Subordinate Legislation stating reasons for such extension" which cannot be more than three months at a time.

The central government has already made it clear that Indian citizenship to the eligible beneficiaries of the CAA will be given only after rules under the legislation are notified.

The central government has already made it clear that Indian citizenship to the eligible beneficiaries of the CAA will be given only after rules under the legislation are notified.

The objective of the CAA is to grant Indian citizenship to persecuted minorities like Hindus, Sikhs, Jains, Buddhists, Parsis and Christians from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan who had come to India till December 31, 2014.

They will not be treated as illegal immigrants and given Indian citizenship.

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