Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA)- Recent Developments

The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has asked to further extend the deadline of framing the rules of “Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA), 2019”.

Highlights

  • MHA sought extension from parliamentary committees in the Rajya Sabha and the Lok Sabha.
  • Third and the latest extension expired on January 9, but MHA failed to notify the rules.

Why MHA made separate requests?

MHA has to make separate requests to two committees. Earlier, Ministry had sought time till April 9, 2021. It was then extended to July 9, 2021 by the committees to notify the rules.

Under what rule extension is given?

Manual on Parliamentary Work contain provisions for extension. It says, in case the Ministries or Departments failed to frame rules within six months, after a legislation is passed, they can seek extension of time from the Committee on Subordinate Legislation”, stating reasons for the move. The time can be extended for three months, at a time.

The Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA), 2019

  • CAA was passed by Parliament on December 11, 2019. President gave his assent on December 12, 2019.
  • Ministry of Home Affairs had notified in January 2020 that the Act will be implemented from January 10, 2020. However, the same was postponed amid the covid-19 pandemic.
  • The act seeks to provide citizenship to the six undocumented non-Muslim communities from Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh, on the basis of religion. They would be provided citizenship, if they entered India on or before December 31, 2014.
  • It also exempts the members of these six communities from any criminal case under the Passport Act, 2920 and Foreigners Act, 1946, if they entered India before December 31, 2014.

Why was the law criticized?

CAA was criticized because it does not grant such eligibility to Muslims from the three Muslim-majority countries. Furthermore, religion had been used overtly for first time, as a criterion for citizenship under Indian law.

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