The Centre has been an extension to draft the rules under the Citizenship (Amendment) Act till July 9. The law, which was passed in December 2019, was not drafted till now due to restrictions created by the Covid-19 pandemic.
The government is preparing rules under the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, Lok Sabha was told on Tuesday. In a written reply to a question, Union Minister of State for Home Nityanand Rai said the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA), 2019 was notified on December 12, 2019, and it came into force with effect from January 10, 2020.
“The Rules under The Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2019 are under preparation. The Committees on Subordinate Legislation, Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha have granted an extension of time up to April 9 and July 9, respectively to frame these rules under the CAA,” he said in a written reply.
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”.
It also states that in case the ministries and departments are not able to frame the rules within the prescribed period of six months, “they should seek an 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 majority of government targets were allowed extensions in 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
The contentious law, CAA, makes way for non-Muslim minorities—Hindu, Sikh, Jain, Buddhist, Parsi and Christian—of Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan to acquire Indian citizenship. The law was passed by the Parliament in December 2019. Under the Act, people from these communities who had come to India till December 31, 2014, due to religious persecution in the three countries will not be treated as illegal immigrants but given Indian citizenship.
Its passage had triggered nationwide protests, which ended only with the imposition of lockdown due to the Covid-19 pandemic in March.
Those opposing the CAA contend that it discriminates on the basis of religion and violates the Constitution. They also allege that the CAA along with the National Register of Citizens is intended to target the Muslim community in India.
However, Union Home Minister Amit Shah had dismissed the allegations and described the protests against the CAA as “mostly political”. He had asserted that no Indian would lose citizenship due to the Act.
Clashes between pro and anti-CAA groups had spiraled into communal riots in Northeast Delhi last year which had left at least 53 people dead and around 200 injured.
CAA NOT LIKELY BEFORE BENGAL POLLS
According to the government’s reply in Lok Sabha on Tuesday, the deadline for drafting rules under the CAA has been extended to July 9, which means that the contentious law will most likely not come into force before Bengal Assembly Polls, due in April-May this year.
The CAA, if implemented early, can be a major setback for the BJP in Bengal as the state hosts a large number of Bengali Muslims who have earlier expressed apprehensions regarding their ability to prove citizenship status under the National Register of Citizens.
During the last year’s protest, TMC chief and current CM Mamata Banerjee had flagged it off as a major issue and had held several rallies promising people that she won’t let the NRC or CAA be implemented in the state.
NO DECISION ON COUNTRYWIDE ROLL-OUT OF NRC: MHA
While the MHA has been given till July 9 to draft rules under the CAA, the ministry said it has not taken any decision on roll-out of the NRC.
“It has been clarified at various levels in government time and again that till now no decision has been taken to create National Register of Indian citizen,” the Ministry of Home Affairs has told the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Home Affairs headed by Congress leader Anand Sharma.
The parliamentary committee had earlier observed that there is a lot of dissatisfaction and fear among the people regarding the National Population Register (NPR) and census.
The ministry said questionnaires for census along with that of the NPR have been tested at drive conducted successfully across the country.
The committee was also of the view that Aadhaar data should be used in the upcoming census to reduce the duplicity and wastage of expenditure. To this, the government has replied that NPR and Aadhaar are separate exercises with the former collecting more detailed data.
“Aadhaar number has been developed as a separate database which is being used only for de-duplication purpose and authentication of beneficiaries of various government schemes,” the home ministry said.
The committee in its final observation noted that Aadhaar already has biometric information of the individuals and so the already stored Aadhaar metadata of the individuals may be used in creating a family database for the upcoming census.
Source: India Today