President Bhandari violates Constitution as she refuses to certify Citizenship Amendment Bill

Published On: September 21, 2022 09:43 AM NPT By: Balkrishna Adhikari

Leaders of ruling parties say her move is an insult to the federal parliament

KATHMANDU, Sept 21: President Bidya Devi Bhandari, who has repeatedly crossed constitutional limits, has refused to authenticate the Citizenship Bill for the second time. The Bill designed to bring amendment in the Citizenship Act 2007 was passed by both houses of the Federal Parliament and reached Sheetal Niwas for authentication. 

According to the constitutional provision, President Bhandari must have certified the Citizenship Bill before 12 o'clock on Tuesday night.

Article 113 (3) of the Constitution gives the President the authority to send the Bills other than those related to finances within 15 days with a message for reconsideration. However, the Constitution does not allow the President to return the bill or not certify it for the second time. According to Article 113 (4), the bill shall be verified within 15 days after it has been passed by the federal parliament with amendments or in the same form.

However, President Bhandari, who was dissatisfied with the Citizenship Bill, appears to have neglected the provisions of the Constitution. The President is not allowed to stop the certification of any Bill passed by both the houses of federal parliament for the second time. Bhandari, who reportedly expressed dissatisfaction over the fact that the Bill she sent back was not amended, has been saying that she will not certify it but will take other steps, if necessary, to protect the constitution. The main opposition CPN-UML– the mother party of President Bhandari– is also against the Citizenship Amendment Bill.

Sheetal Niwas has claimed that since the nomination process for the provincial and House of Representatives elections has started for November 20 and the term of the federal parliament came to an end on the night of September 17, the bill that has reached Sheetal Niwas for certification is also automatically inactive, and Article 113 (4) of the Constitution is not subject to certification. Referring to Article 111 of the Constitution, it is claimed that the Citizenship Bill is automatically rendered inactive.

However, the said bill has been passed by both houses. “Not only that, five political parties, the government and the courts did not follow the provisions of the constitution and issues were raised demanding only the president should follow the provisions of the constitution,” said an official close to Sheetal Niwas. 

However, Article 61 (4) sees the President as the protector and guardian of the Constitution. Sheetal Niwas, showing herself as the defender of the constitution, has also started to show the provision of women's rights in Article 38 and other provisions related to the citizenship of Nepal in Article 15.

In addition, the five parties in the ruling coalition said that since the date of the election has been announced and the term of the House of Representatives has come to an end, they cannot even impeach the President and thus the Citizenship Bill and the President will remain as they are before the election.

Top leaders of the ruling parties who met in Baluwatar on Tuesday accused President Bhandari of being loyal to her former party CPN-UML rather than fulfilling her role as President. Alleging that President Bhandari is active in tearing up the current constitution, a leader of the ruling party said, "We will come to a conclusion on what to do next on Wednesday."

The Citizenship Bill was passed by both Houses for the second time and sent to the President on September 5 for certification.

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