New Delhi: The contentious Citizenship (Amendment) Act – which has been in force since January 10, 2020 -- is out of sight but not out of mind. In fact, if one were to take the response to a question in Parliament at face value, the CAA rules are "under preparation".
The Centre has given itself time - till July 9, at least - to frame and implement rules relating to the controversial citizenship law, amendments to which were passed in December 2019 amid unprecedented chaos in Parliament and violent protests across the country.
In December last year Home Minister Amit Shah had said the process of framing rules had been delayed because of the pandemic, and that it would be taken up once the vaccination drive began.
The CAA, which facilitates Indian citizenship to persecuted non-Muslim minorities -- Hindu, Sikh, Jain, Buddhist, Parsi and Christian -- of Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan, was passed by Parliament in December 2019.
Under the Act, people from these communities who had come to India till December 31, 2014 due to religious persecution in the three countries will not be treated as illegal immigrants but given Indian citizenship.
After the CAA was passed by Parliament, widespread protests were witnessed in the country. Those opposing the CAA contend that it discriminates on the basis of religion and violates the Constitution. They also allege that the CAA along with the National Register of Citizens is intended to target the Muslim community in India.
However, Union Home Minister Amit Shah had dismissed the allegations and described the protests against the CAA as "mostly political". He had asserted that no Indian would lose citizenship due to the Act.
Clashes between pro and anti-CAA groups had spiralled into communal riots in Northeast Delhi last year which had left at least 53 people dead and around 200 injured.
The Manual on Parliamentary Work states that "statutory rules, regulations and bylaws will be framed within a period of six months from the date on which the relevant statute came into force".
It also states that in case the ministries and 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", which cannot be more than for a period of three months at a time.
No single law on 'mixed' marriages
The Centre has no plans to enact an anti-conversion law to curb interfaith marriages, the Lok Sabha was informed on Tuesday. Union Minister of State for Home G Kishan Reddy said issues related to religious conversions are primarily the concerns of state governments, adding that law enforcement agencies take action whenever instances of violation surface. "Public order and police are state subjects as per the Seventh Schedule to the Constitution and hence, prevention, detection, registration, investigation and prosecution of offences related to religious conversions are primarily the concerns of state governments and Union Territory administrations.
"Action is taken as per existing laws by law enforcing agencies whenever instances of violation come to notice," he said.