Lawmakers today urged the government to pass the citizenship bill without any delay.

Janata Samajbadi Party-Nepal lawmaker Pramod Sah said at the House of Representatives meeting today that thousands of eligible Nepalis had been deprived of their citizenship as the citizenship bill remained stuck in the Parliament for the past three years.

He said there were families in which some members were citizens of Nepal, whereas others were stateless due to lack of a new citizenship law.

He said many children of citizens by birth had been waiting for long for their citizenship.

Sah also said that the amendment to the bill proposing naturalised citizenship for foreign wives of Nepali citizens after seven years was wrong and should be dropped. "How can the argument that a foreign spouse imbibes nationalist feelings after seven years and not immediately after marriage be justified? "Proponents of the seven-year waiting period cite examples of Indian law, but in India there is no provision for citizenship and Aadhaar Card was enough for a person to avail of all facilities provided by the state," he argued.

CPN-Maoist Centre lawmaker Indu Kumari Sharma said eligible citizens had been deprived of their fundamental rights, including educational and employment opportunities, as the citizenship bill had remained stuck in the Parliament.

She wondered why the KP Sharma Oli government, which brought the ordinance to address citizenship issues, did not pass the citizenship bill in the past three years.

CPN-UML lawmaker Lalbabu Pandit said the citizenship bill should be passed without further delay to ensure that every eligible citizen obtained citizenship without any hassle.

Nepali Congress lawmaker Gagan Kumar Thapa said the Oli government promoted favouritism and nepotism, undermined the rule of law, and tried to reject science, leading to its downfall.

A version of this article appears in the print on July 28 2021, of The Himalayan Times.