Bill proposes tougher punishment for passport forgery

  • The bill also proposes issuing passports to Nepalis abroad

Kathmandu, August 11

A new bill registered at the Federal Parliament to amend and integrate Passport Act, proposes stricter punishment for passport forgery.

The bill proposes a jail term of one to three years or a fine not exceeding Rs 500,000 or both for passport forgery and forgery of documents to acquire passport. Under the existing law, a person found guilty of passport forgery faces a jail term of only one year or a fine of Rs 500, or both.

The new bill stipulates that if anyone obtains or tries to obtain a passport submitting fake details, or goes to a foreign country without passport or permission of the government, or does not follow the government’s directives, or uses the passport for purpose other than it was acquired, or changes the photo and details on a passport, then such a person will be liable to a jail term of one to three years and a fine not exceeding Rs 500,000, or both.

For other passport related crimes, the bill proposes a jail term of six months to one year and a fine not exceeding Rs 100,000.

“We hope the proposed punishment will deter forgery of passports,” said Secretary at the Ministry of Home Affairs Prem Kumar Rai.

Deputy Spokesperson for the Ministry of Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs Hum Bahadur KC said the punishment proposed in the bill would help deter passport forgery.

Lawmaker and member of the International Relations Committee of the Parliament Deepak Prakash Bhatta said tougher punishment could reduce crimes.

Deputy Executive Director of the Institute of Foreign Affairs Indra Kumari Adhikari said tougher penalties were necessary to discourage passport forgery. She, however, said that the government officials from the centre to the local levels lacked coordination for curbing incidents of passport forgery.

The bill proposes for the first time to grant temporary passport to Nepalis living in foreign countries till the time a permanent passport is issued. The temporary passport will be valid for nine months.

In special circumstances, a child of Nepali citizen in a foreign country can get special passport if s/he has reached 16 years of age and has neither obtained Nepali citizenship nor a foreign citizenship. Such a passport will be valid for at least two years.