Kathmandu, September 9
Parliamentary Party of Nepali Congress today issued a press release demanding that the government amend bills that ‘violated’ the preamble and provisions of the constitution.
It stated that the government was not serious about the differing views expressed by lawmakers, including those from NC, in the parliamentary committee on Citizenship Bill, Federal Civil Service Bill and Information Technology Bill.
“No bill that violates the preamble and provisions of the constitution will be acceptable to the Nepali Congress. The NC, therefore, urges the government to amend the bills that violate the spirit and the provisions of the constitution,” NC PP stated in its release.
Khand told THT that the ruling Nepal Communist Party (NCP) was trying to pass the controversial bills on the basis of its majority in the House, but if it tried to do so, NC would stall House proceedings.
Khand said the NC wanted to retain the provisions that allowed foreign women married to Nepali men to obtain Nepali citizenship immediately after marriage. “Some ruling NCP lawmakers are arguing that the provisions related to marital naturalisation should be changed and foreign women married to Nepali men should be made to wait for some years before they get their naturalised citizenship. This is irrational and we will not accept their arguments,” Khand said.
He added that foreign women married to Nepali men gave up everything to become integral part of Nepali families and hence they should not be made to wait to become naturalised citizens. Khand said if foreign women married to Nepali men were not given naturalised citizenship immediately, they could face unimaginable difficulties as enjoyment of almost all the rights was linked with citizenship certificates in Nepal.
“If a waiting period is introduced for obtaining marital naturalisation, then foreign women married to Nepali men might not get share of their husband’s property before they obtain their citizenship nor will they enjoy reproductive health rights.”
He said the countries that had waiting period rules for foreign women married to their nationals had the provision of issuing temporary or permanent identity cards that were as good as citizenship certificates but there was no such provision in Nepal. Due to deep differences between the parties, citizenship bill might not be passed in this session of the Parliament.
Khand said the Information Technology Bill had restrictive provisions that could curtail press freedom and citizens’ freedom of expression. NC wants those provisions to be excluded from the bill, he added. “Information Technology Bill intends not only to restrict online media but also discourages people from criticising public post holders. We cannot support such provisions,” he said.
Khand added that the ruling party wanted to insert a provision in the Federal Civil Service Bill whereby a government official eligible to become secretary in other ministries could also become the foreign secretary. “Our party is in favour of retaining the provision that allows only employees of foreign service to become the foreign secretary,” he added.
He said the ruling party wanted to make health professionals ineligible for the post of secretaries but his party would not support that.
Khand said the NC would also stall House proceedings if the ruling party did not amend the provisions of the NHRC Act (Amendment) Bill and National Security Council Bill in the Parliament Secretariat. “We are also opposed to the bill that proposes to give the prime minister-led steering committee the power to handle mega projects worth over Rs 25 billion.
NCP Chief Whip Dev Prasad Gurung said his party had put bills opposed by the NC on hold.
“We have passed almost all the bills on the basis of consensus with the opposition parties and want to do the same with other bills. NC should not think of adopting the extreme measure of stalling House proceedings,” he added.
A version of this article appears in print on September 10, 2019 of The Himalayan Times.