Kathmandu, Nepal, April 16, 2019: The Supreme Court (SC), the apex court of the country, has on Monday issued a stay order asking the government not to issue 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.
With the order of the SC, the government’s decision to resume the halted process to distribute the citizenship certificate to the children born to the parents, who had already received the citizenship certificates based on their birth, is stayed for now.
However the directive of the government and stay order of the SC have not only distanced the relationship between the judiciary and executive but also revitalized the citizenship controversies in the country. The SC has also summoned the plaintiff and the defendants for the hearing on April 16.
Challenging to the directives of the Home Minister Ram Bahadur Thapa Badal to resume the distribution of the citizenship by descent, advocate Balkrishna Neupane had moved to the SC seeking immediate stay order against of the directive.
The Ministry of Home Affairs (MoHA) had issued circulars to all 77 District Administration Offices (DAO) on April 4 to issue citizenship by descent to the children of those who had obtained citizenship by birth in the mean time when the bill to amend the Citizenship Act is still under discussion in the federal parliament.
The MoHA has a claim that the decision was taken not to hamper the career development and further education of the children of those who were given citizenship by birth through a special one-time decision some 12 years ago.
However, the widely raised question is here that why the government hurried to resume the process of distributing the citizenship in the mean time when the proposal to amend the Citizenship Act is still sub-judice at the federal parliament.
The government had taken a ‘special decision’ in 2006 to provide 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. But the provision was stalled on November 2008, thanks to the widespread controversies for rampant distribution of citizenship certificates.
Official record states that altogether 190,726 individuals had obtained citizenship by birth, based on the special decision. It is being feared that same number of new citizenship certificates would be issued again if the directive of the government was not specified by the law.