Kathmandu, March 21
The Parliamentary State Affairs and Good Governance Committee today formed a nine-member sub-committee to complete the remaining task of Nepal Citizenship Bill, especially with regard to obtaining naturalised citizenship certificate.
During today’s meeting, Chair of the panel Shashi Shrestha announced Bijay Subba, Yasoda Gurung Subedi, Laxmi Chaudhary and Navaraj Silwal from the ruling Nepali Communist Party (NCP); Devendra Raj Kandel and Mina Pandey from Nepali Congress; Ram Sahay Prasad Yadav from Federal Socialist Forum-Nepal; Raj Kishor Yadav from Rastriya Janata Party-Nepal; and Prem Suwal from Nepal Workers and Peasants Party as member of sub-committee.
The Sub-panel has been given a timeframe of two weeks.
The sub-committee will choose the coordinator in its first meeting. The task of the sub-committee is to gather all-party consensus on distributing naturalised citizenship and its punishment provisions.
The sub-panel must also finalise punishment for those women whose declaration are found to be false, while obtaining citizenship for children.
It has been almost seven months with more than 20 meetings that the panel started clause-wise discussion of the bill, but the panel failed to reach consensus mainly on the process of naturalised citizenship. “We have finish almost 90 per cent of work on the bill, so, the remaining work will be completed soon,” Shrestha said.
The sub-committee must meet all the national political parties and its top leaders and reach a conclusion and hand over the report to the committee. There is a debate regarding the process of obtaining naturalised citizenship card. According to the bill, there are three processes for obtaining naturalised citizenship.
First, the marital naturalised citizenship which a foreign woman gets after marrying a Nepali man. But there is no clear provision for men who marry Nepali women in the bill as well as in the constitution.
The second way of obtaining naturalised citizenship for foreigners is to stay in Nepal for 15 years.
The third process for obtaining naturalised citizenship involves children born from a Nepali mother and a foreign father.
Lawmakers Yasoda Gurung Subedi and Rekha Sharma have decried the unequal treatment between men and women in the country.
Gurung said if a man marries a foreign woman the child gets citizenship based on descent from the father. However, if a woman marries a foreign man the child will get naturalised citizenship. Such treatment between men and women of the same country is unequal. “Men and women should be treat equally in the country, according to the constitution,” Sharma said.
Regarding self-declaration provision for women, there have been debates in the panel. Some have sought stringent punishment for women, if their self-declaration while obtaining citizenship for the child goes turns out to be wrong.
On the other hand, some say there should be little punishment for those mothers.
A version of this article appears in print on March 22, 2019 of The Himalayan Times.