Government requests Prez Paudel to certify Citizenship Amendment Bill

Published On: May 27, 2023 01:00 PM NPT By: Republica  | @RepublicaNepal

KATHMANDU, May 27: The government has requested President Ram Chandra Paudel to certify the citizenship bill. 

A cabinet meeting held on Friday decided to request the President's office to validate the Citizenship Bill, which has been stalled since July. 

"According to the constitutional provisions, the president must certify any bill within 15 days," said a cabinet source, "contrary to the provisions of the constitution, it has been decided to ask the then president to certify the citizenship bill, which was suspended without certification."

After the then President Bidya Devi Bhandari returned the Citizenship Bill sent by the previous Parliament to the Parliament and did not verify it for the second time, President Ram Chandra Paudel consulted about it a few weeks ago. 

According to the constitutional provision, although there is no provision for the President to hold the bill in abeyance, since it exceeded the deadline, constitutional, legal and political complications were seen in the matter of verification. President Paudel had consulted with the government and legal experts saying that he needed a basis for validating the Citizenship Bill in the current situation.

The cabinet meeting has asked the President to certify the bill, citing legal experts and constitutional arrangements. Sources claim that now President Paudel will validate the Citizenship Bill, which is kept in Sheetal Niwas, based on the decision of the Cabinet meeting.

"It cannot be said that the constitutional president does not accept and does not accept the decisions made by the government and the council of ministers," said a close source, "The constitutional president cannot change the decisions of the cabinet. If the Council of Ministers asks to certify the bill, the President has no choice.

The then President Bhandari refused to certify the 'Bill to amend the Nepal Citizenship Act 2006 (2063 BS)' from the House of Representatives and the National Assembly with the argument that the questions left by history and the problems raised by the present should be resolved and moved forward. The Citizenship Bill, pending in the Federal Parliament for three years, was passed and went to the President for verification in July 2022. The then president put it on hold.

The ruling political party as well as the government also expressed concern that the citizenship bill placed in Sheetal Niwas was not verified. In addition, the parliamentarians of the ongoing session of the House of Representatives have been demanding the President to verify that the bill that has reached the President's office cannot be returned.

Sources in the President's Office claim that the government cannot bring back the bill passed twice by the federal parliament and that there is confusion over which section of the constitution to use to move it forward. There is a provision in the constitution that the president must certify any bill passed by the federal parliament within 15 days. There is no clear provision in the constitution about what to do if the president does not certify the bill for the second time. The second time the bill reaches the President, there is no option for verification. But the constitution does not envisage the option of what to do if the President does not certify. Article 113 of the Constitution provides for authentication in the Bill.

Meanwhile, the Council of Ministers has approved the agreements to be made by Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal during his visit to the neighboring country, India, from May 31. The agendas related to the Ministry of Industry, Commerce and Supplies (MoICS) and Ministry of Energy, Water Resources and Irrigation have been passed by the Cabinet, giving priority to the government. Siliguri-Jhapa Petroleum Pipeline and Amlekhganj-Lothar Petroleum Pipeline, transmission as well as power generation and trading proposals have been passed. MoICS Minister Ramesh Rijal and Minister for Enegry, Water Resources and Irrigation Shakti Bahadur Basnet will sign with the Indian counterpart.


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