The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has sought an extension of another three months to frame the rules of the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA), 2019, a legislation that fast tracks the citizenship of undocumented persons of six non-Muslim communities from Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh.
Without the rules being framed, the Act cannot be implemented.
The MHA has sought more time from the subordinate committee on parliamentary legislation in both the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha to frame the rules, a senior government official told The Hindu. This the sixth extension the Ministry has requested.
The MHA has informed the Rajya Sabha committee that it needs time till December 31, 2022 to frame the rules, while it sought time till January 9, 2023 from the Lok Sabha committee. According to the Manual on Parliamentary Work, in case the Ministries/Departments are not able to frame the rules within the prescribed period of six months after a legislation is passed, “they should seek extension of time from the Committee on Subordinate Legislation stating reasons for such extension”.
The CAA was passed by the Parliament on December 11, 2019 and it received assent from the President of India on December 12 the same year. The Ministry had notified that the Act will come into force from January 10, 2020 but since the rules have not been drafted, the legislation is ineffective so far.
The CAA seeks to grant citizenship to members of the Hindu, Sikh, Parsi, Christian, Buddhist and Jain communities from Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh, who entered India before December 31, 2014 without any documents. It exempts members of the six communities from any criminal case under Foreigners Act, 1946 and Passport Act, 1920, which specify punishment for entering the country illegally and staying on with expired visas and permits.
As many as 83 persons were killed in protests and riots from December 2019 to March 2020 in Assam, Uttar Pradesh, Karnataka, Meghalaya and Delhi after the CAA was passed.