KATHMANDU, March 6: Lawmakers at a meeting of the State Affairs Committee of parliament have agreed to include a provision in citizenship law allowing an individual to acquire Nepali citizenship through the mother and no mention of the status of the father.
If the new provision is endorsed as it is by the full House, the authorities will issue citizenship certificates through the mother and leave the space for father's name blank if the applicant so wishes.
However, the applicant's mother herself has to inform officials about the reality of his/her father's status, and the officials will enter this in their records.
The issue had caused controversy when officials used wording such as 'father unidentified' in citizenship certificates issued through the mother. Also, in such cases, the applicant needed to furnish satisfactory reasons why the father was 'unidentified'.
“We also ask the government to formulate a guideline for government bodies to simplify the process so that the applicant wouldn't face unnecessary hassles in acquiring citizenship through the mother once the latter vouchefs the reality of the father's status ,” SAC Chairperson Shashi Shrestha announced at the meeting after concluding discussions on the matter.
Various rights groups had been demanding that citizenship certificates be given through the mother without any unnecessary hassles, just as citizenship is given through the father.
The committee has also included a provision that requires a foreign man or woman marrying a Nepali citizen to produce evidence that the foreign person hasn't acquired citizenship or any similar national identity paper in his/her own country if the persons wants to apply for Nepali citizenship .
The existing citizenship law is silent about a foreign male marrying a Nepali woman while a foreign woman marrying a Nepali national can apply for citizenship immediately after producing evidence that she had initiated a process to renounce citizenship in her previous country.
Lawmakers at the meeting pressed for inclusion of the new provision, saying the existing provision was discriminatory between male and female citizens.