NEW DELHI: Indicating a longer wait for operationalisation of the Citizenship (Amendment) Act enacted more than one-and-a-half years ago, the government on Tuesday told the Lok Sabha that it had sought further time until January 9, 2022, to frame and notify the rules under the Act.
Reply to a query in the Lok Sabha on whether the government was aware of missing the deadline to frame and notify CAA rules, minister of state for home Nityanand Rai said that committees on subordinate legislation, Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha, had been requested to grant further extension of time up to 09.01.2022 to do so.
The CAA received Presidential assent on December 12, 2019 and came into force on January 10 2020. Foreigners covered by this Amendment Act can submit applications for grant of citizenship only after the CAA rules are notified by the Central government.
The government, even as it stands firm on its decision to grant citizenship to persecuted religious minorities from the three neighbouring countries, has delayed the rules with no concrete explanation. Some attribute multiple extensions of the deadline sought by the government to its preoccupation with Covid management while a source told TOI that some clarity from the Supreme Court, which is hearing a challenge against CAA, is awaited on certain aspects including screening criteria.
Incidentally, BJP had in its manifesto for West Bengal assembly polls this year, declared that it would approve implementation of CAA in the first Cabinet meeting to be held in the event of a BJP win.
The December 2019 enactment of CAA — which seeks to grant citizenship to immigrants belonging to six religious minority communities from Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh, who were forced to move to India fearing religious persecution back home – had triggered nationwide protests with the Opposition parties and activists terming it as “anti-Muslim” and “discriminatory”. Many insisted on mixing the CAA issue with National Register of Citizens (NRC), even though the Modi government is yet to announce any intent to prepare an all-India level NRC, and accused the government of trying to oust Muslims on grounds of lacking documents to establish their Indian citizenship.
The government on its part clarified that CAA had nothing to do with Muslims and only sought to benefit Hindus, Parsis, Sikhs, Christians, Jains and Buddhists by granting them Indian citizenship with a reduced minimum stay.
This story first appeared on timesofindia.indiatimes.com