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Citizenship Act Amendment: Efforts to reach a consensus


Nepalnews
2022 Mar 09, 19:44,
File Photo: Nepal Citizenship Card Photo Source: Forum for Women, Law, and Development (FWLD) Website

Home Minister Bal Krishna Khand has said that the government is making efforts to finalize the amendment of the Nepal Citizenship Act, 2063 BS with consensus. In a discussion with the representatives of the Federal Parliament at the Ministry of Home Affairs today regarding the amendment of the Nepal Citizenship Act, 2063 BS, Minister Khand informed that the discussion has been moved forward to reach a conclusion in a way that addresses different opinions.

The bill to amend the Nepal Citizenship Act, 2063 BS was registered on 8th August,2018  and was presented in the Parliament on 10 August 2018. The bill was sent to the State Management and Good Governance Committee on August 21 for clause-by-clause discussion.

The committee prepared the report with dissenting opinion and submitted it to the parliament on June 23, 2020. While there is still a dispute between the parties regarding the bill, the Home Ministry has discussed with the parliamentarians today.

During the discussion, the lawmakers suggested that the bill should be passed on the basis of consensus after discussing with the top leadership of the political parties as the issue is related to the common people. In reply, Home Minister Khand informed the top leaders and party leaders that the government was making maximum efforts to reach a consensus. He also said that everyone has a common responsibility on sensitive issues like granting citizenship.

During the discussion, Minister for Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs Dilendra Prasad Badu informed that the report of the bill which was debated in the committee after a long time has been prepared. He informed that the report of the bill has been prepared by providing additional punishment to those who submit false details so that wrong people do not get citizenship.

The committee has given the report with the provision that if a foreign woman who has got married to a Nepali citizen wants to get the adopted Nepali citizenship of Nepal, if she has got married and has resided in Nepal continuously for seven consecutive years, she can get the adopted citizenship of Nepal.

Disputes remain over the seven-year deadline. Minister Badu also informed that there is a dispute over the issue of acquiring naturalized citizenship. He said the report was passed with a note of dissent, noting that it could lead to social and cultural problems in the long run.

At the meeting, Attorney General Khamb Bahadur Khati stressed that no one should be made stateless and said that there was no need to hold the bill in dispute. He suggested that it be taken to the parliament soon and passed unanimously.

In the meeting, MP Laxman Lal Karna argued that such an arrangement would not be appropriate, adding that unnecessary apprehensions have been raised regarding the acquisition of citizenship. He stressed on the need to appreciate the minority issues regarding the common people. In the meeting, MPs Krishna Bhakta Pokhrel, Dev Gurung, Pushpa Bhusal and Jeevan Ram Shrestha expressed their views on the bill.

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