The Centre has sought an extension till January 9, 2022, to frame the rules of the Citizenship Amendment Act, Minister of State for Home Affairs Nityanand Rai told the Parliament on Tuesday.

The contentious legislation, approved by Parliament on December 11, 2019, provides citizenship to refugees from six minority religious communities from Bangladesh, Afghanistan and Pakistan, on the condition that they have lived in India for six years and entered the country by December 31, 2014.

Rules are guidelines on how a legislation will be implemented and, as per Parliamentary guidelines, must be published within six months of an Act coming into force.

The Act was notified on December 12, 2019, and had come into effect from January 10, 2020, Rai said in response to a question from Congress MP Gaurav Gogoi on what steps were being taken to frame the rules for the Citizenship Amendment Act. Rai, however, did not explain the reasons for delay in framing the rules.

The Centre has already sought extensions for framing the rules in October 2020, February 2021 and May 2021, India Today reported.

In February, while addressing a rally during the West Bengal Assembly elections, Union Home Minister Amit Shah had said the Citizenship Amendment Act will be implemented after the countrywide coronavirus vaccination programme ends.

Shah’s comments came after Bharatiya Janata Party MP from Bongaon Shantanu Thakur demanded that the Centre should clarify the developments related to the implementation of the citizenship law. Thakur had made an election promise to the Matua community about providing citizenship to them. There are nearly 1.5 crore voters of the Matua community in West Bengal, who wield impact in at least 30 Assembly seats.

But at the same time, the BJP also downplayed the Citizenship Act during the poll campaign, preferring to concentrate on matters like local corruption.

The Citizenship Act has been widely criticised for excluding Muslims. It sparked massive protests across the country last year as this was India’s first faith-based law.

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