The central government did not notify the rules for the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2019 (CAA) till Sunday (9 January 2022), the third extended deadline since the Act was passed.
The deadline for the six-month extension sought from the two parliamentary committees in the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha to formulate the rules for the same was 9 January.
It is yet unclear if the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) had sought more time from the committees on subordinate legislation to notify the CAA rules. Without the rules, which are published in the Gazette of India, the law cannot be implemented.
On 30 November, Minister of State for Home Affairs Nityanand Rai informed the Lok Sabha that those eligible may apply for citizenship once the rules for CAA are notified.
Earlier, it was on 4 August that the minister had informed the Rajya Sabha that, “The Committees on Subordinate Legislation, Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha have been requested to grant extension of time up to 9.1.2022 to frame the rules under the CAA. Eligible persons covered by this Amendment Act may submit applications for grant of citizenship after appropriate rules are notified by the Central government.”
Reason For Delay
The CAA was notified on 12 December 2019 and it came into force on 10 January 2020. Since then, the MHA, after failing to notify the rules within the prescribed period of six months after the legislation was passed, had sought time till 9 April 2021 in, and then 9 July 2021 from the concerned parliamentary committee.
According to the rules laid down in the Manual on Parliamentary Work, in case the ministries or any department fail to notify the rules within the prescribed period of six months after the legislation was passed, “they should seek extension of time from the Committee on Subordinate Legislation stating reasons for such extension.”
However, just weeks after the Act came into force, the country got hit by the coronavirus pandemic. Since then, the central government, citing the pandemic as the reason for the delay, had sought extensions from the said committee in October 2020, February 2021, and May 2021.
What Is The Citizenship (Amendment) Act?
The CAA fast-tracks grant of Indian citizenship to persecuted religious minorities of the three neighbouring Islamic countries, namely Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh. Before the amendment, the Citizenship Act granted an applicant Indian citizenship after 11 years.
With the CAA, the persecuted religious minorities — Hindus, Sikhs, Christians, Jains, Buddhists and Parsis — from these three countries, who had arrived in India before 31 December 2014, will get it after five.
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