Citizenship bill likely to be sent to HoR thematic panel today

Kathmandu, August 19

The House of Representatives is likely to send Nepal Citizenship (Amendment) Bill to the concerned  thematic committee tomorrow.

Minister of Home Affairs Ram Bahadur Thapa is expected to table the bill in the HoR before the lower house decides to send the bill to the thematic committee.  The bill will be tabled in the House, along with amendments registered by lawmakers.

Fifty-eight lawmakers of the Parliament have registered 22 amendment proposals on the bill. The 72-hour deadline for registering amendments to the bill had ended on Friday. “The bill will most likely be sent to the State Affairs and Good Governance Committee tomorrow,” said Deputy Spokesperson for the Parliament Kesab Aryal, adding, the thematic committee will return the bill to the House after holding discussion on it.

“This bill will most probably be sent to the State Affairs and Good Governance Committee,” said ruling Nepal Communist Party (NCP) lawmaker Krishna Bhakta Pokharel, adding, the bill needed serious discussion. Nepali Congress lawmaker Bharat Shah said the bill would be discussed in the thematic committee.“Some changes have to be made to the bill and we need to discuss them seriously,” he said.

As per the House of Representatives Regulation, the minister will present the bill in the HoR and the speaker will allow lawmakers, who have registered amendments to the bill, to grill the minister.  If the lawmakers are satisfied with the minister’s answer, they will withdraw their amendments, paving the way for passage of the bill.  If the lawmakers who have sought amendments are not satisfied with the minister’s response, the speaker will present the amendment proposals in full House. If the majority of lawmakers support the amendments, they will become part of the bill, but if they reject the amendments, they won’t be incorporated in the bill. The HoR may then endorse or reject the bill through majority votes.

The HoR may also send the bill to the State Affairs and Good-Governance Committee. The committee will discuss the bill with lawmakers who have registered the amendments and other stakeholders or experts. The committee will then prepare its report. The chair of the committee will table the report in the House, which may  either endorse or reject the bill with majority votes.  Most of the amendment proposals have sought removal of the provision in the bill that requires a mother to name the father of a child for the latter to acquire citizenship.