Call to ease process for citizenship certificate

Himalayan News Service

Kathmandu, June 13:

Actress Mausami Malla divorced her husband, DB Malla, 10 years ago. Many efforts notwithstanding, she has not been able to remove her ex-husband’s name from her citizenship certificate. Immediately after divorce, she didn’t initiate the process to get the name of her ex-husband removed from her certificate. “I could not get it removed when I tried,” she said at a programme on ‘Citizenship Certificate and Rights of Nepali Women’.

The programme was organised by the Forum for Women, Law and Development (FWLD).

Mausami said she approached Chitwan and Kaski District Administration Offices several times, but to no avail. “Some of the officials took my problem as a joke. They suggested me to get married again and acquire a citizenship certificate through a new husband’s name.”

Thousands of people face similar problems when they try to acquire citizenship certificates.

Nineteen-year-old Niraj Shrestha said he could not get the citizenship certificate because his father was not ready to accept him as his son.

“When I approached officials, they said they cannot do anything unless my father attends the office and recognises me as his son,” he said. Stating that he has become an ‘orphan’ due to his father’s behaviour, Shrestha said, “The State, too, is not ready to deliver justice to me.”

Rita Rai, an ex-British army man’s wife, said she could not provide citizenship certificate to two of their sons as her husband was not ready to accept them as his sons. Prerana Thapa said the officials were not providing citizenship certificate to her because her father and mother had died when she was just one-year-old. Tara Chaudhari, whose husband disappeared seven years ago, has not been able to register the birth of her two children.

According to an estimate, about four million Nepalis do not have citizenship certificates.

Chairman of the Forum for Women, Law and Development, advocate Sapana Pradhan Malla, said the patriarchal mindset of the government is to blame for such problems. She said that the Constitution should be amended to address the problem.