The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) informed the Lok Sabha on Tuesday that a parliamentary committee on subordinate legislation had granted it extension till April 9 to frame the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA), 2019 rules.
Without the rules being notified, the Act remains ineffective. The BJP promoted CAA as one of its major poll promises in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. The Assembly elections in West Bengal and Assam are due in a couple of months. Home Minister Amit Shah had said that CAA rules would be framed after the COVID-19 vaccination drive ends.
In a written reply, Minister of State for Home Affairs Nityanand Rai said, “the Citizenship [Amendment] Act, 2019 [CAA] has been notified on 12.12.2019 and has come into force w.e.f. 10.01.2020. The Rules under The Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2019 (CAA) are under preparation. The Committees on Subordinate Legislation, Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha have granted extension of time upto 09.04.2021 and 09.07.2021 respectively to frame these rules under the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2019 (CAA).”
The CAA provides citizenship on the basis of religion to six undocumented non-Muslim communities from Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh who entered India on or before December 31, 2014.
The Hindu reported on July 20, 2020 that the MHA was yet to inform Parliament regarding the delay in framing rules, to be done if the rules are not framed within six months of the legislation being passed by Parliament. Following the report, the MHA sent a letter to the parliamentary committee on subordinate legislation seeking three-months extension that expired in November. The MHA sought further extension.
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, “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.