SC says Citizenship Act does not contravene constitution

Kathmandu, July 4

The Supreme Court today quashed a writ petition filed by Surendra Bahadur Shrestha and Govinda Belbase seeking nullification of Section 10 of Citizenship Act, 2006.

Shrestha, who is a naturalised citizen of United Kingdom, had filed the writ petition, saying that he won refugee status in the UK and later obtained British citizenship not because he wanted to but because he wanted to enable his children to get British citizenship.

Belbase said in his writ petition that he was qualified to obtain naturalised citizenship of the UK as his wife was already a British citizen, but he wanted to obtain naturalised citizenship of the UK only if Section 10 of the Citizenship Act would be declared null and void.

The case was decided by five-member constitutional bench headed by Acting Chief Justice Deepak Raj Joshee. Other members included justices Om Prakash Mishra, Cholendra Shamsher JB Rana, Deepak Kumar Karki and Kedar Prasad Chalise.

According to Communication Expert of the Supreme Court Kishor Paudel, the constitutional bench of the court stated that on those two cases  Section 10 of the Citizenship Act was not in contravention of the constitution and as far as the constitutional provision of providing Nepali citizenship to non-resident Nepalis was concerned, the government was yet to make a new citizenship law.

Section 10 of the act states that any citizen of Nepal who voluntarily acquires the citizenship of any foreign country shall automatically lose the citizenship of Nepal.

Petitioner Shrestha stated in his petition that he obtained British citizenship without which his children who were studying in the UK would not have qualified for British citizenship.

“I have not renounced my Nepali citizenship and will not do so,” petitioner Shrestha has stated in the petition. He argued that Section 10 of Citizenship Act contravened preamble, Article 10 and 45 of the new constitution.  Article 10 of the constitution stipulates that no citizen of Nepal may be deprived of the right to obtain citizenship. Similarly Article 45 guarantees citizens’ their right against exile.