Female lawmakers decry unequal provisions

Kathmandu, January 29

Female lawmakers have expressed dissatisfaction with certain provisions of the Nepal Citizenship Bill, which is in the State Affairs and Good Governance Committee of the Parliament for clause-wise discussion.

Female lawmakers Binda Pandey, Rekha Sharma, Yasoda Subedi and Amrita Thapa Magar have been repeatedly saying that the bill has an unequal provision for male and female to acquire citizenship.

Lawmaker Pandey said women should not face any difficulty in acquiring citizenship. She said if a male marred a foreign female, their children could acquire citizenship by descent, but if a female married a foreign man, their children could acquire only naturalised citizenship. “This provision doesn’t show equality between male and female. Does marriage decide the fate of women?” she asked.

Lawmaker Sharma said there should be same provision for male and female to acquire citizenship. Supporting Pandey, lawmaker Subedi said although they had brought democracy in the country but gender discrimination persisted in the laws.

Female lawmakers commented that although the constitution guaranteed equal lineage right for men and women, the bill’s provision contradicted the charter.

However, lawmaker Rawal argued, “The bill’s provisions are in line with the constitution, so we can’t change it.”

Lawmaker Suwal said the government should only grant citizenship by descent only to those who had been living in the country for three generations. “We shouldn’t grant citizenship by descent to those marrying foreigners,” he said.

Chairperson of the panel Shashi Shrestha said that the clause-wise discussions on the bill would continue. “If there is any dispute in the provision, we will leave that for now and continue with next one,” Shrestha said.