Thursday, November 23, 2006

House Committee approves Citizenship Bill
The House of Representatives State Affairs Committee (SAC), today, unanimously approved the draft of Citizenship Bill.

The Bill would now be presented to the parliament for final enactment. The Bill proposes April 15, 1963 as the cut off date for providing citizenship certificate – aimed at resolving the years-old problem of denial of citizenship to hundreds of thousands of residents of Terai or Madhes region.

The cabinet had approved the bill on September 6 with the aim of providing citizenship to all those who have been residing in Nepal before April 15, 1963. With the intention of resolving longstanding problem of citizenship of residents of Terai and landless people, the cabinet had okayed the bill as per the commitment expressed by the House of Representatives earlier.
The Bill to amend the Citizenship Act 1963, would enable anyone who can establish the fact that he was eligible for Nepali citizenship on the cut-off date to be awarded the same. It means those who were born before the cut-off date and were permanently living in the country before then would be eligible for the citizenship.

According to the draft bill, a persons needs to produce land ownership certificate or the certificates establishing his birth or permanent residency to get the citizenship. Furthermore, anyone who can gather three Nepali citizens who can vow that he/she is a Nepali citizen can also get the citizenship. The Bill also has provisions allowing citizenship based on mother's name. It also has stringent provisions of punishment for those trying to get it through falsified evidence. If anybody is found to have obtained the citizenship in a wrongful manner, he/she will face prison sentence between one to five years. Likewise, anybody who helps a wrong person get citizenship can face jail sentence between three months to one year.

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