Sunday, November 26, 2006

Parliament endorses Citizenship Bill

The House of Representatives has passed the ‘Citizenship Bill’ by majority, Sunday.Speaker of the House of Representatives Subash Chandra Nemwang also verified the bill passed by the parliament to make it an Act.
According to reports, the bill was passed by the majority, after lawmaker Narayan Man Bijukchhe of Nepal Workers and Peasants Party, one of the constituents of the ruling seven party alliance voted against the bill saying if the bill was passed without amendment, it will help to give citizenship to non-Nepalis.
Other members of the parliament taking part in the discussion hailed the bill saying it will help to give citizenship certificates to thousands of people deprived from it.Answering the queries of lawmakers, Home Minister Krishna Prasad Sitaula said that the government would form regulations to implement the Act as per the consensus with all political parties.After hectic discussions, the parliamentary State Affairs Committee (SAC), unanimously approved the draft of bill and presented it to the parliament for final enactment.
The Bill proposes April 15, 1963 as the cut off date for providing citizenship certificate to all people residing in Nepal before the date.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. The Act will enable anyone who can establish the fact that he was eligible for Nepali citizenship on the cut-off date to be awarded the same. According to the Act, 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 Act also has provisions allowing citizenship based on mother's name.
Lawmakers of Terai region have been raising the issue of citizenship for a long time saying that thousands of people have been deprived from the citizenship certificate due to the previous Act. The historic proclamation of the parliament suspended the provision of any bill to be verified by the King to be an Act and empowered the Speaker to verify such bills

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