New Delhi, January 11 (ANI) Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has been granted extension for the sixth time from the Parliamentary Committees on Subordinate Legislation in the Rajya Sabha and the Lok Sabha to frame the rules for the controversial Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA), 2019, said sources.
The Parliamentary Committees gave their nod another time to extend rules for the CAA taking cognizance of a request made by the MHA earlier this month.
A senior government official told ANI that "it is confirmed that the extension to frame CAA rules has been granted by the Parliamentary Committees".
Asked whether the extension has been granted for three months or six months, the official, said "a written order copy is stll awaited, but it is communicated that the extension is allowed by both the Parliamentary Committees".
The rules are essential for implementation of the CAA.
The committees chairman in the Lok Sabha, YSR Congres party's Balashowry Vallabbhaneni, told ANI that "when due date is over, the MHA generally sends a request for further extension of more time to frame CAA rules".
"As I am in Hyderabad, I don't know what exactly happened... Generally, MHA is granted extension in time when it seeks request in this regard. It is not an issue. But exactly, I don't know."Chairman of the Subordinate Legislation Committee in Rajya Sabha Partap Singh Bajwa, who is also outside Delhi, was contacted to confirm but he could not be reached.
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 will come into force from January 10, 2020 but it later requested from 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 both the Parliamentary Committees for similar extensions five times. The latest six month extension sought by the MHA ended on Sunday. The MHA had earlier sought time till July 9, 2021 to frame the CAA rules. Before that, there was an extension granted till April 9, 2021. The first extension was granted in June 2020 for notifying CAA rules, which are to be published in the Gazette of India.
On February 2 last year, the Ministry of Home Affairs had told the Lok Sabha that the rules for the controversial law were still being framed even as it had got an extension of time from Committees on Subordinate Legislation in both the Houses.
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 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 extension of time from the Committee on Subordinate Legislation stating reasons for such extension" which cannot be more than three months at a time.
However, last time the extension was granted for six months.
As the MHA could not frame rules within six months of the enactment of the CAA, it sought time from the committees in Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha.
The central government has already made it clear that the 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. (ANI)