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११ मंसिर २०७९, आईतवार
     Sun Nov 27 2022
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citizenship in Nepal



The discriminatory and problematic provisions of the bill to amend the Nepal Citizenship Act, 2063 should be verified only by reconsidering and amending it.

– The policy of citizenship in Nepal was started with the Nepal Citizenship Act, 2009. The subject of citizenship was first included in the Constitution of Nepal, 2019. The constitution issued after that seems to have continued this issue.

– The Citizenship Act, 2020 was repealed and the Nepal Citizenship Act, 2063 was issued. According to the provision of citizenship in the Constitution of Nepal, 2072, the bill proposed in July 2079 to amend the Act was passed by the House of Representatives and the National Assembly and sent to the President for verification. It has been returned to Parliament for reconsideration by the President on July 29.

–  Ignoring the disparity pointed out by the President, the House of Representatives has already passed it as it is on August 2. Now, if passed by the National Assembly, it will be sent to the President for re-certification. This article discusses the strengths, weaknesses and aspects of the bill that need to be reconsidered.

strong side

Citizenship through mother’s name: The provision that a person who was born in Nepal from a mother who is a citizen of Nepal and resides here and whose father is not identified can obtain citizenship based on descent has been added in sub-section 5 of section 3 of the Act. This provision has saved millions of people whose fathers are not identified from becoming stateless. Also, their political, social, cultural and economic rights have been secured.
Non-Resident Citizenship: According to the Constitution of Nepal, regarding the acquisition of non-resident Nepali citizenship, Section 7 (a) has been added to the Act and it has been mentioned about the documents to be attached when applying for citizenship. If a non-resident Nepali citizen is obtained by giving false information, imprisonment for a period of three months to one year or a fine of 25,000 to 50,000 rupees, and the automatic cancellation of the citizenship obtained in this way, has been added in sub-section 3 (b) of section 21 of the Act. This provision has protected from abuse that may occur in the process of obtaining and granting non-resident citizenship.

weak side
Base Year: In the Constitution of Nepal, 2019 and the Constitution of the Dominion of Nepal, 2047, considering the year 2019 as the base year, there was a provision to grant Nepali citizenship to those born in Nepal before that year. Similarly, the basis for granting Nepalese citizenship based on birth has been set by the Constitution of 2063 until the end of March 2046 and the Constitution issued in 2072 until 2nd of October 2072.

Correspondingly, the provision of granting citizenship to descendants based on birth has also been amended in the bill. According to that provision, the children of citizens who had citizenship by birth before the commencement of the Constitution of Nepal can get the citizenship of their descendants when they reach adulthood. The system of granting citizenship to the descendants without setting any criteria whether the person was born in Nepal/not, permanent residence/not is controversial.

With the promulgation of the new constitution, the practice of changing the base year of the birth-based citizenship system seems likely to misuse Nepali citizenship.

Gender Discrimination: A person born in Nepal from a foreign woman married to a Nepali citizen will get the citizenship of a descendant, but a person born in Nepal from a Nepali woman married to a foreign citizen and settled here will get unrecognized citizenship if they want to get citizenship. Similarly, if the father is not identified but the mother is a Nepalese citizen, the provision of giving citizenship to her children based on descent after the mother declares herself is insulting and discriminatory. Also, the provision of punishment if the self-declaration made by the mother is found to be false has encouraged gender discrimination.

Aspects to be reconsidered
Since citizenship is connected with nationality and is a sensitive subject, the policy of granting citizenship is strict in international practice. In Nepal, a loose provision has been kept in the proposed bill. In Section 5 of the Act, it is mentioned that a foreign woman who marries a Nepali citizen can get a recognized Nepali citizenship upon submission of proof of marital relationship and relinquishment of foreign citizenship. Is/is not living permanently in Nepal after marriage; The section of the Bill that grants citizenship immediately on the basis of marriage to a Nepali citizen without setting any criteria should be reconsidered and amended.

Similarly, according to the Constitution of Nepal, the base year of granting Nepali citizenship to descendants based on birth and the provision that women who have obtained Nepali citizenship of descendants should self-declare if their husbands are not identified should be reconsidered.

In a landlocked country like Nepal with open borders, a loose citizenship policy can harm sovereignty, independence and integrity. A flawed bill may be fatal to a country that has passed into law and needs to be reconsidered before ratification.


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