SC issues interim order not to implement the Citizenship Bill

Published On: June 5, 2023 08:00 AM NPT By: Republica  | @RepublicaNepal

KATHMANDU, June 5: The Supreme Court (SC) has issued an interim order not to implement the Citizenship Bill immediately.

On Sunday, a single bench of Justice Manoj Kumar Sharma issued the interim order not to immediately implement the Citizenship Bill.

Senior advocates Dr Surendra Bhandari and Balkrishna Neupane had registered the writ petition against President Ram Chandra Poudel’s move to certify the bill on Friday.

In the writ petition registered at the SC against the Citizenship Bill, the petitioners have demanded that the act of certifying the Citizenship Bill passed by the previous parliament is illegal, and that the certification be annulled by the apex court.

Earlier, President Ram Chandra Paudel certified the Citizenship Bill on May 31.  President Paudel certified the bill which was put on hold by the then President Bidya Devi Bhandari since last September even though the bill was passed by both the houses of parliament and sent to the president for authentication for the second time.

After the bill was certified by President Paudel, there was a mixed reaction among political leaders as well as other organizations. CPN-UML, the main opposition party, had said that it was an insult to the parliament to certify the amendment bill  that was endorsed by the erstwhile parliament. CPN-UML Deputy Leader Subash Chandra Nembang called the authentication process a blunder. He interpreted it as an attack on the parliament, the representative body of the people.

Similarly, Kamal Thapa, chairman of the breakaway faction of the Rastriya Prajatantra Party (RPP), said that the fact that the citizenship was verified by the president on the same day as Prime Minister Dahal's visit to India proves that the bill was made to please someone.

Meanwhile, Non-Resident Nepali Association (NRNA) expressed happiness over the authentication of the bill relating to amendment of Citizenship Act, 2063. Executive Chairman of NRNA, Dr Badri KC, said that the authentication of the bill relating to citizenship has now ensured 'NRN citizenship' along with socio-economic and cultural rights which was guaranteed by the constitution of Nepal, 2072.

Likewise, the ruling Nepali Congress (NC) has come to the defense of President Paudel's move. Min Bahadur Bishwakarma, head of the Publicity Department of the Nepali Congress, claimed that the president has fulfilled his constitutional duty by validating the Citizenship Bill.  He alleged that the then President Bidya Devi Bhandari breached the constitutional provision under Article 113 of the Constitution by ignoring the Citizenship Bill, which was presented for the second time after completion of all the due procedures.

The bill approved by President Paudel has provisions such as foreign women married to Nepali men to get naturalized citizenship directly after submitting a photocopy of the marriage certificate or any other document as evidence. Some of the issues included in the bill are controversial. But amid the controversy, President Paudel approved the Citizenship Amendment Bill after it was passed by both the houses of the federal parliament. 

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