Updated: January 4, 2020 11:50:18 am
The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) is not considering consulting states over the framing of rules for Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA), even though as many as six states have declared they would not implement the law.
“The work on framing rules for CAA is on. Every aspect is being carefully examined. But we have not sought any suggestions from any state on how these rules are to be framed. It is not required. Ample consultation has been done before the Act was passed,” a senior MHA official said.
The official added that the ministry was not waiting for resolution of certain petitions in the Supreme Court against CAA as the apex court had not stayed the implementation of the Act.
Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal recently said his government had sent some suggestions with regard to the rules being framed for CAA to the MHA. The legislation has been vehemently opposed in Assam, and there have been widespread protests in the state since the day it was passed by Parliament.
“We have received suggestions from Assam. But we are not seeking such suggestions from other states. After the Bill is passed, framing of rules is the domain of the government,” the official said.
Elaborating on what the rules would broadly look to deal with, the official said they would be concerned with certain definitions, requirement of documents and further fleshing out of provisions of the Act.
“There is a cut-off date fixed in the Act. So we have to arrive at how an applicant will prove that he came before December 2014. What are the documents he would need to present to prove this. Then there is the question of whether the applicant needs to prove that he faced religious persecution in Pakistan, Afghanistan or Bangladesh. All these matters are being looked into,” the official said.
Kerala, West Bengal, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan and Maharashtra — all with non-BJP governments — have declared that they would not implement CAA in their states. MHA sources said it was not in their ambit to deny the implementation of CAA as it was a subject in the Union list. The MHA also plans to bring necessary administrative notifications that will prevent states from putting roadblocks in implementation of CAA.
Notably on December 30, Union Minister Arjun Ram Meghwal said at a press conference in Kochi, “If any (state) government says it won’t implement it, then it is not as per the Constitution, be it the West Bengal government, Kerala, Rajasthan or Madhya Pradesh government. It is an Act passed by Parliament. The states have to follow. It is in national interest.”
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