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Nepal President refuses to approve citizenship bill

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Nepal President refuses to approve citizenship bill
Nepal’s President Bidya Devi Bhandari

Nepal’s President Bidya Devi Bhandari has refused to assent to the Citizenship Bill. The bill was re-passed by both the houses of Parliament and sent for the assent of the President. After which the chances of a deepening constitutional crisis in the country have increased. According to the constitution, if a bill is re-sent by both the Houses of Parliament, the President has to take a decision within 15 days. However, taking the decision, the President refused to assent.

President’s political advisor Lalbabu Yadav said that Bhandari has exercised the right of constitutional order. Article 61(4) states that the main duty of the President shall be to obey and protect the Constitution. It means protecting all the interests of the Constitution. Article 113(2) of the Constitution states that a bill to be presented before the President has to be approved within 15 days and both houses will be informed about it.

As per the provision, the President is constitutionally bound to assent to any bill which is again presented to the President once it has been sent back for reconsideration by the House. The political advisor said, the bill does not fully comply with the provisions of Part II of the Constitution, discriminates against women, and does not provide for single federal citizenship with provincial.

In August, the President of Nepal sent the Citizenship Act-2006 Amendment Bill back to Parliament for discussion and necessary amendments. Let us tell you that this bill has been hanging for the last three years. President Bidya Devi Bhandari wants a more serious discussion on this.

The bill will pave the way for thousands of children of Nepali citizens to get citizenship. After its implementation, children born before 20 September, 2015 will get citizenship on the basis of descent if the mother or father resides in Nepal. According to the constitution, people of foreign origin born in Nepal before 12 April 1990 were given citizenship of the country on the basis of their birth here. But there was no law to give citizenship to their children earlier. A provision has been made in the bill that the President of Nepal, Bidya Devi Bhandari, refused to assent to the citizenship bill introduced in both houses. President’s Office spokesperson Sagar Acharya issued a statement saying that President Bhandari has sent the bill back to HOR for reconsideration under Article 113(3) of the Constitution.

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