Kathmandu, February 4
Arjun Kumar Sah, 30, a resident of Matihani, Mahottari, is yet to get citizenship even after the Supreme Court’s ruling in his favour.
He had moved the SC on February 13 seeking Nepali citizenship, claiming that he had been living in Nepal since his birth and his mother was a Nepali citizen by descent. He added that his father, who was not a citizen of any country, had been living with his mother in Nepal ever since their marriage.
The SC ruled in Sah’s favour on September 13, following which he went to the home ministry with a petition on November 28 seeking naturalised citizenship. “Home ministry officials tell me not to lose patience. They say I should wait for a few months more,” Sah said.
He added that they told him that if he could meet and convince the home minister or the home secretary, then he could get his citizenship within three days or else he might have to wait for another three months. Sah said he could not comprehend why the home ministry did not enforce the SC’s order immediately.
He said he had been facing problems in day-to-day life due to lack of citizenship. He said he had not been able to apply for government or non-government jobs and could not get his daughter enrolled in a government school due to lack of birth certificate which could be issued only after he gets citizenship certificate.
“The SC has ruled that I should get all the rights on par with other citizens. I got my bank account opened but could not get a driving licence, as the concerned office claimed that the SC order had not clearly stated about driving licence,” he added. Sah said although Rastriya Banijya Bank allowed him to open a bank account after the SC ruling, bank officials warned him not to keep large amount of money in his account, as his account could be closed anytime.
Information Officer at the Ministry of Home Affairs Ekadev Adhikari said the delay in processing Sah’s application was probably because he had not submitted all the necessary documents.
Another officer at the ministry said although the court ruled in Sah’s favour, the government could grant him citizenship only after examining all the documents. “One cannot claim citizenship by naturalisation as a right. The court may have ruled in his favour, but it does not mean that the government should grant naturalised citizenship without completing other processes,” the officer added.
MoHA officials said the decision to grant Sah naturalised citizenship would have to be taken by the Cabinet.
A version of this article appears in print on February 05, 2019 of The Himalayan Times.