Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Minister's order cannot overrule legal provisions, say lawyers
Lawyers have started a signature campaign denouncing the decision of the Home Ministry to authorise teams to distribute naturalised citizenship.
The lawyers have also asked the government and the political parties to withdraw the decision.
The campaign, signed by over 300 lawyers, states "to distribute naturalised citizenship - which can be given to foreigners only after fulfilling certain bases and procedures - under pressure from a crowd will jeopardise nationalism."
The campaign is led by lawyers duo Tikaram Bhattarai and Bhimarjun Acharya.
Talking to Nepalnews, Acharya said that the order given by Home Minister Krishna Prasad Sitaula authorising the teams to distribute naturalised citizenship is against the law.
"Even the new Citizenship Act and its Rules have specified the fulfillment of a number of rigorous procedures before a Chief District Officer can confer naturalised citizenship to any foreigner. The Section 5 of the Act and Rule 7 clearly stipulate such procedures. Then how can a Home Minister's order overrule these legal provisions?" Acharya asked.
According to Acharya, bowing down to pressures of crowd could hurt the national identity.
He said that the campaign will collect more signatures (from law practitioners) on Wednesday and then they will be submitted to the Speaker and the Prime Minister on Thursday.
The government has currently dispatched teams across the country to distribute citizenship certificate. Although earlier the teams were only authorised to distribute citizenship based on birth, Sitaula recently instructed teams to also distribute naturalised citizenship.

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