Nepal | July 05, 2020

Ongoing Parliament session unlikely to pass citizenship bill

Jagdishor Panday
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Kathmandu, September 9

The ongoing session of the Parliament is unlikely to pass the Citizenship Amendment Bill as the session will end in the third week of this month, according to sources.

The federal Parliament session will end in the third week of this month. Parliamentary State Affairs and Good Governance Committee is yet to finalise the bill. Even if the committee finalises the bill at the earliest, it will then be forwarded to the House of Representatives for endorsement. From HoR, it will be forwarded to the National Assembly, which is a very lengthy process

The bill was registered in the Parliament Secretariat on 22 August  2018, a year ago. But the panel failed to pass then bill even after three dozen meetings. The panel also formed a nine-member sub-panel led by lawmaker Bijaya Subba on August 27 to present the report after consensus on issues such as provision on issuing naturalised citizenship to men and women married to Nepali citizens. But the sub-committee also failed to come up with any solution.

Chair of the panel Shashi Shrestha said the committee had been discussing the bill for a long time. “We are trying to finalise the bill as soon as possible,” he added.

Main opposition Nepali Congress lawmaker Dila Sangraula said Chair of the panel Shrestha had urged all the lawmakers to participate in the meetings to pass the bill from the House as soon as possible.

A high-level government official told THT that if the issue of issuing naturalised citizenship remained unresolved, the government might come up with a proposal to issue temporary citizenship. Temporary citizenship card could be used before obtaining the citizenship card.

As per the existing laws, a foreign woman can obtain naturalised citizenship immediately after getting marred to a Nepali man. But the lawmakers in the panel have proposed that a foreign woman can obtain naturalised citizenship only after staying in Nepal for some years.

Main opposition lawmaker and committee member Amresh Kumar Singh told THT  that the intention of the Chair of the committee Shrestha was not positive from the beginning.

After the Subba led sub-committee failed to come with a consensus on the report, Parliament officials have requested the government to come up with a final decision on the issue of  naturalised citizenship.

A version of this article appears in print on September 10, 2019 of The Himalayan Times.

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