The Union Ministry of Home Affairs has informed the Lok Sabha that the time to frame rules under the controversial Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2019, has been extended, reported the Live Law. The CAA Rules are under preparation and the Committees of Subordinate Legislation, Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha, have granted extension of time upto April 4 and July 9 respectively to frame rules under the CAA, said the Minister of State in the MHA, Nityanand Rai, in response to an unstarred question from V K Sreekandan MP.
The law was passed by the Parliament in December 2019 with the stated objective of liberalizing the grant of citizenship to Hindus, Sikhs, Christians, Buddhists, Jains and Parsis who have migrated to India before December 31, 2014, from Pakistan, Bangladesh or Afghanistan fearing religious persecution. The CAA came under criticism from several quarters for excluding Muslim refugees and non-Muslim majority nations from its purview and also for leaving out other forms of persecution.
The passing of the Act coupled with the announcements about the proposal for a National Register of Citizens(NRC) triggered off country-wide protests. Around 140 petitions were filed in the Supreme Court challenging the constitutionality of the CAA on grounds of religious discrimination, arbitrariness and violation of secular principles. The framing of the CAA rules is necessary to begin the process of grant of citizenship to the intended beneficiaries of the law. Last year, the Centre had put on hold the work for National Population Register - the precursor of the NRC - till further orders citing the COVID-19 pandemic. The NPR process was otherwise scheduled to begin from April 1, 2020.