There is a one-month window for the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) to be implemented before the next Budget session, which is expected to start on February 1, 2024, a senior government official said on December 29. Once the model code of conduct kicks in, legislative work such as notifying the rules of CAA by publishing them in the official gazette cannot take place and per norms, all rules are to be mandatorily tabled before the Parliament.

“The CAA rules will have to be notified before January 31, 2024, if the legislation has to be implemented before the 2024 general elections. Since a copy of the rules has to be presented to the Parliament, the Budget session is the only available window before the current Lok Sabha lapses,” said the official.

The Winter session of Parliament, which concluded on December 21, was the last working session of the current Lok Sabha to clear key legislative work.

The CAA that fast-tracks citizenship to six undocumented non-Muslim communities — Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Parsi, Christian and Jain — from the neighbouring countries of Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh who entered India on or before December 31, 2014, was passed by the Lok Sabha on December 9, 2019, but is yet to be implemented. The Union Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) sought nine extensions from a parliamentary committee to frame rules that will govern the Act, without which the Act is ineffective.

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