The ministry of home affairs (MHA) has informed a department related standing committee of Parliament that it needs three more months to frame the rules of the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), passed by Parliament in December last, officials familiar with the development said.
According to the Manual on Parliamentary Work, rules for legislation should be framed within six months of the date of the President’s assent or the standing committee on subordinate legislation should be approached for extension of time.
The amended Act aims to grant Indian citizenship to six minorities – Hindus, Sikhs, Jains, Buddhist, Christians and Parsis from Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh, who have faced or fled fearing religious persecution.
The law, which excludes Muslims, will be applicable to those who entered India before December 2014.
A senior officer cited above said that “the additional time has been sought to frame the rules as the ministry was busy in other work for the past several months. The rules will be framed soon.”
The manual on Parliamentary Work 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.
The government has claimed that while the rules are being framed, the non-Muslim refugees from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan will have to provide proofs of their religious beliefs while applying for citizenship.
The applicants belonging to Hindu, Sikh, Christian, Buddhist, Jain or Parsi faiths will also have to furnish documents to prove that they entered India on or before December 31, 2014, according to officials.
After the CAA was passed by Parliament, widespread protests were witnessed in the country. 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, home minister Amit Shah had dismissed the allegations and described the protests against the CAA as “mostly political”. He had asserted that no Indian will lose citizenship due to the Act.
Lok Sabha had passed the CAA legislation on December 9, 2019 and Rajya Sabha on December 11, 2019.