The Union Home Ministry has, for the sixth time, sought yet another extension from the parliamentary committees in the Rajya Sabha and the Lok Sabha to frame the rules for the controversial Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA), 2019.
Without the rules being framed, the Act cannot be implemented.
"We have approached the parliamentary committees seeking more time. Hopefully, we will get the extension," a senior government official told NDTV.
The Citizenship Amendment Act was passed by Parliament on December 11, 2019, and the Presidential approval came the next day. Protests erupted across the country in the following months as critics labelled the law as anti-Muslim.
However, the law is yet to be implemented as rules under the CAA are yet to be framed.
According to the Manual on Parliamentary Work, the rules for any legislation should have been framed within six months of Presidential approval. Or. an extension has to be sought from the Committees on Subordinate Legislation, Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha.
As the Home Ministry could not frame rules within six months of the enactment of the CAA, it sought time for the committees - first in June 2020, followed by four other times. The fifth extension came ended on Monday.
The central government has already made it clear that the Indian citizenship to the eligible beneficiaries of the CAA will be given only after rules under the legislation are notified.
The objective of the CAA is to grant Indian citizenship to persecuted minorities like Hindus, Sikhs, Jains, Buddhists, Parsis and Christians from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan.
Those from these communities who had come to India till December 31, 2014, facing religious persecution there, will not be treated as illegal immigrants and given Indian citizenship.
After the CAA was passed by Parliament, widespread protests were witnessed in different parts of the country leading to deaths of nearly 100 people in police firing and related violence.
Several political parties alleged that there are apprehensions that the CAA, followed by a country-wide compilation of the National Register of Citizens (NRC), will benefit non-Muslims excluded from the proposed citizens' register, while excluded Muslims will have to prove their citizenship.
The government, however, has informed Parliament that "till now it has not taken any decision to prepare the NRC at the national level.