Even two years after the promulgation of new constitution, the Nepali Government seems to have no laws in place to issue citizenship certificates to its citizens.
This became evident in one of the cases, where a citizen visited the Kathmandu District Administration Office (DAO) to get citizenship for his daughter of Nepali descent by birth.
Even though the citizen’s daughter is entitled to get citizenship by descent under the new constitution, the officials denied to issue the certificate to her, citing the lack of relevant laws for the same.
“I do not blame Kathmandu DAO because I know that, in the absence of law, the officers cannot issue citizenship. But, such a vital law should have been enacted soon after the promulgation of the constitution,” says a citizen, who faced above situation in many occasions during his visits to the government office.
Surprisingly, the citizen heard similar dialogues even from high-ranked officials of the Ministry of Home Affairs, who also said that they were helpless because of no relevant laws.
The citizen’s daughter, who is pursuing bachelor’s degree in international relations from Ashoka University in India, couldn’t go to The Philippines due to lack of relevant travel documents or passport.
The citizen went on to say that the airport authorities have informed him about the fine of Rs 2-5 lakhs he will have to bear if his daughter is sent back from India for not having relevant documents, whenever he attempted to book air tickets for his daughter.
“I was told to sign a bond, but I decided to send my daughter to India through land route,” he added. Whereas, his daughter says, “People ask me questions as if I am not getting passport or travel documents due to my fault.”
According to Advocate Dipendra Jha, there are around 170,042 citizens by birth and children of citizens by birth facing similar issues across the country. “The government says that implementation of the constitution is its top priority but children of citizens by birth are unable to get citizenship. This is a violation of their fundamental rights and human rights,” Jha added.
This situation is prevalent despite the Nepal Supreme Court’s recent decision, where it directed DAOs to issue citizenship certificates to those whose parents are Nepali citizens by birth.
Advocate Meera Dhungana, President of Forum for Women, Law & Development said that the constitution allows the provision to issue certificates to the children of parents who are Nepali citizens by birth.
Meanwhile, a Home Ministry Spokesperson says the government is already working on the amendment of the Citizenship Act to address the relevant issues.