The government has sought until January 9, 2022, to frame the rules under the Citizenship Amendment Act, 2019 Lok Sabha was told by by Minister of State for Home Affairs, Nityanand Rai on Tuesday.
The extension has been by requested by the government from the Committees on Subordinate Legislation, Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha.
The Act was notified on December 12, 2019 and came into force on January 10, 2020. Parliamentary procedure (Manual of Parliamentary Procedures) requires that the government notify rules for Acts that require them within six months from which an Act came into force.
"The Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2019 (CAA) has been notified on 12.12.2019 and has come into force w.e.f. 10.01.2020. The Committees on Subordinate Legislation, Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha have been requested to grant further extension of time up to 09.01.2022 to frame the rules under the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2019", said the response of Rai in Lok Sabha.
This answer was in response to a question asked by Congress', Gaurav Gogoi, Member of Parliament for Kaliabor, Assam.
The CAA was piece of legislation that granted an expediated path to citizenship to refugees fleeing religious persecution from Afghanistan, Pakistan and Bangladesh, belonging to the Hindu, Parsi, Sikh, Christian, Jain or Buddhist faiths who entered India on or before December 31, 2014.
The legislation turned out to be contentious and sparked nationwide protests against it, which faded away into the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in India. The ruling dispensation called the CAA a humanitarian piece of legislation that granted citizenship to victims fleeing religious persecution.
However, opponents of this legislation said that the CAA, when combined with a National Registry of Citizens, would render undocumented Muslims in the country stateless.
This reply can be seen here.
Postponement in granting NRC rejection slips
The National Registry of Citizens was an exercise conducted in Assam that concluded on August 31, 2019. The exercise was to prepare a list of Indian citizens from Assam's residents on the basis of residential and citizenship documents and proofs, and the final list saw it leave out nearly 1.9 million people.
However, the process of handing out rejection slips has been postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic and floods in the state, the government has told Lok Sabha.
"Due to outbreak of Covid-19 and flood situation, the process of issuing rejection slips has been postponed", Rai said in a written reply to Abdul Khaleque, Congress' Member of Parliament from Barpeta, Assam, on Tuesday. He was questioning the government behind the reason for the delay in issuing NRC rejection slips,
This reply can be seen here.
However, the government has earlier maintained that it has not made any plans on a nationwide NRC in replied to Lok Sabha. It remains unclear how the government intends to proceed which such an country-wide exercise.
No fixed date for census
The government has also told Lok Sabha that the field activities going into the national Census has been postponed due to the COVID-19.
The Census was scheduled to be held in two phases: the house listing phase from April to September 2020 and Population Enumeration from February 9 to 28, 2021.
The Government decided to conduct Census 2021 under the Census Act, 1948 in two phases, viz., (a) House listing & Housing Census during April-September, 2020 and (b) Population Enumeration during 9th to 28th February, 2021. However, Census related field activities have been postponed till further orders due to Covid-19 pandemic. In Census, data is collected on demographic and various socio-economic parameters like education, SC/ST, religion, language, marriage, fertility, disability, occupation and migration of the individuals. Data on migration characteristics along with the reasons of migration such as work/employment and business is collected", said the reply by Rai to three parliamentarians who wanted to the status on the Census.
This reply can been seen here.
The CAA and NRC was contentious in part since they immediately preceded the potential Census. Opponents feared that this exercise could feed into a National Population Registry - registry of every usual resident of India irrespective of citizenship - which in turn could feed into a potential NRC.