Six months later, MHA yet to frame rules on CAA

Parliamentary panel to seek status report

Updated - July 21, 2020 08:11 am IST

Published - July 20, 2020 09:01 pm IST - New Delhi

The display board showing the votes polled during the Citizenship Amendment Bill voting that took place after a seven-hour-long debate in the Lok Sabha, in New Delhi on December 9, 2019. Twitter/@LokSabhaSectt

The display board showing the votes polled during the Citizenship Amendment Bill voting that took place after a seven-hour-long debate in the Lok Sabha, in New Delhi on December 9, 2019. Twitter/@LokSabhaSectt

More than six months after the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA), 2019 , was passed by Parliament, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) is yet to frame rules or inform Parliament about the delay in doing so. Without rules being notified, the Act cannot come into force or be implemented.

The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Subordinate Legislation, which has not received any communication from the MHA, has decided to write to the Ministry on the status of the CAA rules.

Also read: Lok Sabha passes Citizenship Bill amidst Opposition outcry

Chairman of the committee K. Raghu Rama Krishna Raju told The Hindu , “We will be writing a letter to the MHA as there is no request for extension of time (for notifying the rules), will send them a reminder to give us a status [report]. As per norms, MHA should have framed the rules within six months or seek extension.” Mr Raju is an MP of the YSRCP.

The CAA was passed by Parliament on December 11, 2019, and given the President of India’s assent the next day, December 12, 2019. The MHA had issued a notification that the provisions of the Act will come into force from January 10.

Also read: After a heated debate, Rajya Sabha clears Citizenship (Amendment) Bill

The CAA provides citizenship on the basis of religion to members of six non-Muslim communities from Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh who had entered India on or before December 31, 2014.

Around 70 people were killed in protests that erupted across the country after the Act was passed. These stopped in March after the nationwide lockdown in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Manual on Parliamentary Work states that, “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 also 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.

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.

A Home Ministry spokesperson did not comment on why the rules had not been framed as yet.

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