SC halts issuance of citizenship for offspring of citizens by birth

Published On: April 9, 2019 06:30 AM NPT By: Republica  | @RepublicaNepal

KATMANDU, April 9: The Supreme Court on Monday issued a stay order asking the authorities not to issue citizenship by descent to the offspring of those who were given citizenship by birth through a special one-time decision some 12 years ago.

The interim order was issued by the apex court after advocate Balkrishna Neupane challenged the Home Ministry's circular directing the district authorities to provide such people the citizenship by descent.

Responding to the writ petition, a single bench of Justice Purushottam Bhandari ordered the government not to execute the decision until the final verdict.

The apex court has summoned the plaintiff and the defendants for the hearing on April 16.

On April 4, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MoHA) had issued circulars to all 77 district administration offices to issue citizenship by descent to the children of those obtaining citizenship by birth as the bill to amend the Citizenship Act is still under discussion in the federal parliament.

Distribution of citizenship certificates to the offspring of those possessing citizenship by birth has been stalled after November 2008 as such citizenship was distributed under a "special decision” of the government taken in 2006. The government at that time had provided citizenship by birth to those born inside the territory of Nepal and living within the country once they were recommended for such citizenship by any three Nepali citizens.

According to official records at the Home Ministry, altogether 190,726 individuals had obtained citizenship by birth, based on the special decision.

At that time, the government had said that the children of those obtaining citizenship by birth should apply for their own citizenship within the next two years. But the children who had not reached 16 years of age prior to November 2008 were deprived of citizenship for lack of any law or special arrangement that would address their problem.

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