While the number of deaths mount, and more than two months have elapsed since Parliament ratified the legislation, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) is yet to notify the rules that will make the CAA operational.
Senior MHA officials asserted that the rules were still under construction . “The rules cannot be outside the purview of the Act, they will reflect the provisions of the Act but it will not be possible to give a deadline as to when it will be notified,” said a senior MHA official, speaking on the condition of anonymity.
Another MHA official added that as and when the rules are finalised and published in the official gazette, it would be tabled in the Parliament, within 15 days if it is in session or on the first day of the commencement of the next session.
According to the Manual on Parliamentary Work, “statutory rules, regulations and bye-laws will be framed within a period of six months from the date on which the relevant statute came into force.”
The manual states that in case the Ministries/Departments are not able to frame the rules within the prescribed period of six months, “they should seek extension of time from the Committee on Subordinate Legislation stating reasons for such extension” which cannot be more than for a period of three months at a time. The request should be made after obtaining the approval of the Minister, according to the manual.
After the CAA was enacted, six people were killed in Assam, 19 in Uttar Pradesh, two in Karnataka and 42 have been killed so far in the communal riots in Delhi.
Several areas in Uttar Pradesh, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, Bihar, West Bengal, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Gujarat, Telengana and Karnataka have witnessed protests against the CAA and its link with a proposed countrywide National Register of Citizens (NRC) and the National Population Register (NPR).
Several Opposition ruled States have opposed the proposed NPR survey, slated to begin from April 1 along with the decennial Census exercise. According to the Citizenship Rules 2003, NPR is the first step towards compilation of NRC. The NPR form is yet to be finalised and notified but the trial form last year collected details from 30 lakh respondents on 21 parameters including “place of birth of father and mother, last place of residence.”
Amid opposition, the Government informed the Lok Sabha on February 4 that “till now, the government has not taken any decision to prepare National Register of Indian Citizens (NRIC) at the national level.”
After several deaths in U.P., Prime Minister Narendra Modi had sought to allay the fears in a public rally on December 22 when he asserted that there had been no discussion, no talk on an NRC for India since his government had taken power in 2014.
However, on December 9, during a discussion on the CAA in the Lok Sabha, Union Home minister Amit Shah had said “there is no need to create a background for NRC, we are clear that NRC ought to be done in this country, our (BJP) manifesto is the background”.
The CAA has the provision to grant citizenship to undocumented members of six minority communities from Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh — Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Christian, Jain and Parsi — who entered India before December 31, 2014. Though the Act does not mention “persecuted minorities,” the term was included in the statement of objects when the Bill was introduced in the Parliament.
Several groups in Assam have opposed the CAA as it violates the provision of the 1985 Assam Accord that called for “detection and deportation” of all persons who entered the State from Bangladesh post March 24, 1971. Assam’s Supreme Court-monitored NRC, which was published on August 31 last year and excluded 19 lakh of the 3.4 crore applicants, was a fallout of the Assam Accord.
The CAA was passed by Parliament on December 11. The MHA notified that its provisions would come into force from January 10.