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Indian Ministry of Home Affairs misses deadline for formulating Citizenship Amendment Act rules

Source: Delhi, 21/07/2020

With the MHA not notifying the rules, the Act cannot be
implemented. According to the Manual of Parliamentary Procedure,
rules have to be framed within six months from the date on which
the statute came into force.
`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; such extension being more than
for a period of three months at a time. The request should be made
after obtaining the approval of the Minister,` the manual said.
The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Subordinate Legislation
will soon be writing to the MHA, which has not yet approached the
panel for extension of time, asking for a status report on the
issue.

Former BJP leader Yashwant Sinha tweeted, `did you know that the
CAA rules have not been framed and notified despite a lapse of
seven months. The act cannot be implemented in the absence of
rules? Do you realise how the whole thing was just meant to fool
the people and win elections?`
A senior Trinamool Congress leader told DH, What reasons will the
Home Minister cite for delay in framing of CAA rules? Why is he
deliberately delaying the rules after passing the legislation in
such a big hurry? Was the legislation done only to create a stir
and whip up communal disharmony? Has Modi-Shah’s political gamble
badly backfired? Was it too hot to handle? Especially in Bengal?
This is an admittance of that.`

The Opposition had risen in rebellion against the Bill when it
came for passage in Parliament late last year, accusing the
government of introducing religion as criteria for citizenship. It
also resulted in huge protests across the country, amid
accusations that it was aimed at targeting Muslims.

In January, reports, including in DH, had suggested that the MHA
may include a provision for seeking documents to prove their
religion and their entry into India before the cut-off date from
people seeking citizenship under the CAA. Those applying will also
have to provide proof that they came from Pakistan, Afghanistan or
Bangladesh.

According to the report of the Joint Committee of Parliament that
vetted a previous version of the Bill, there were 31,313 people
belonging to minority communities from these countries will be
`immediate beneficiaries`, as they had been given Long Term Visas
on the basis of their claim of religious persecution in their
respective countries and want Indian citizenship.

Among 31,313, the Intelligence Bureau told the panel, 25,447 are
Hindus, 5,807 are Sikhs, 55 Christians and two each Buddhists and
Parsis.

For citizenship, the IB said, they will have to prove that they
came to India due to religious persecution. `If they had not
declared so at the time of arrival in India, it would be difficult
for them to make such a claim now. Any future claim will be
enquired into, including through RAW before a decision is taken,`
the IB had told the panel.

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