Nepal | April 03, 2020

Initiative from speaker urged to pass bill

• CITIZENSHIP BILL

Himalayan News Service

Kathmandu, August 29

Two lawmakers from the ruling Nepal Communist Party (NCP) Binda Pandey and Hridayesh Tripathi urged Speaker Krishna Bahadur Mahara to take special initiative to pass the citizenship bill in the current session of Parliament.

Lawmaker Binda Pandey told the House of Representatives if the bill could not be passed immediately, the House should issue a directive telling the government to make alternative provisions for children of Nepali citizens who have not been
able to obtain citizenship due to lack of new citizenship law.

She said there were hundreds of children of Nepali citizens who were unable to meet their basic needs and enjoy rights due to non-enactment of a new citizenship law. Pandey added that the constitution had provisions that aimed at not rendering anybody stateless.

“This citizenship bill should be passed immediately to protect the identity of all citizens, but if we cannot do that, alternative provisions should be made to ensure that eligible citizens were not denied the opportunity to pursue education, avail of health services and open businesses,” she said. There are children of Nepali citizens facing problems due to non-enactment of a new citizenship law

in every constituency. “I therefore urge the speaker to make special efforts to pass the citizenship bill from this session of the Parliament.”

Another NCP lawmaker Hridayesh Tripathi also urged the speaker to ensure passage of the citizenship bill from the current session of the Parliament.

“The bill is stuck in the State Affairs and Good Governance Committee, which is discussing citizenship provisions of all the countries in the world, but they cannot enforce what is guaranteed in our own constitution,” he added.

He said there were reasons to believe that some people were deliberately trying to delay passage of the bill.

Tripathi said the government had issued a circular to facilitate distribution of citizenship to children of citizens by birth, whose rights had been ensured in the constitution, but the Supreme Court stayed the order thrice. “We all know the court only decides cases. It does not give justice. I urge the speaker to ensure that the citizenship bill is passed from the current session of the Parliament,” he added.

Rastriya Janata Party-Nepal lawmaker Mahendra Ray Yadav also said the citizenship bill should be passed without further delay.

The Citizenship Bill was registered in the Parliament more than a year ago on 22
August 2018.

A sub-committee formed after SAGGC failed to resolve the issue of naturalised citizenship submitted its report on Tuesday without forging consensus on the issue.
Many eligible citizens, including children of citizens by birth, have not been able to obtain their citizenship due to lack of new citizenship law.


A version of this article appears in print on August 30, 2019 of The Himalayan Times.


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