Congress to stand against seven-year provision for naturalised citizenship for foreign women married to Nepali menThe party’s Central Working Committee proposes to hold general convention in the stipulated time in February.
The Nepali Congress has decided to stand against the citizenship amendment bill tabled in the Parliament that requires seven years for a foreign woman married to a Nepali man to acquire naturalised citizenship.
The Central Working Committee of the main opposition party on Tuesday concluded that the seven-year provision is unconstitutional. It has said any foreign woman married to a Nepali man should be granted naturalised citizenship as soon as she starts the process to renounce her original citizenship.
Despite reservations from the Nepali Congress, Samajbadi Party Nepal and Rastriya Janata Party Nepal, the State Affairs and Good Governance Committee of the House of Representatives endorsed the bill with the seven-year cooling period before granting naturalised citizenship to foreign women married to Nepali men.
The three parties are for the continuation of the existing provision as per the Nepal Citizenship Act 2006 that was promulgated in line with the Interim Constitution 2007, which has provisions of granting naturalised citizenship to foreign women married to Nepali men as soon as they produce evidence of the start of the process to renounce their original citizenship.
The Nepali Congress had registered a note of dissent when the parliamentary committee endorsed the bill through a majority vote.
“The party has decided that the seven-year provision is regressive and the existing provision should prevail,” Prakash Sharan Mahat, party’s deputy general-secretary, told the Post.
The note, however, doesn’t talk about naturalised citizenship for foreign men married to Nepal women.
Amid concerns from various sections that the Nepali state was discriminatory when it comes to citizenship to foreign women married to Nepali men and foreign men married to Nepali women, Nepali Congress President Sher Bahadur Deuba on June 24, two days after the House committee endorsed the bill, had taken to Twitter to question the gender discriminations.
“It would be discriminatory if foreign men married to Nepali women are barred from acquiring citizenship,” Deuba wrote on Twitter .
According to the existing Citizenship Act, there is no provision for naturalised citizenship for foreign men married to Nepali women.
A foreign man wanting to get naturalised citizenship of Nepal must have stayed in the country for 15 years.
Though Deuba raised the issue through social media, his party had not taken any position on it during deliberations in the House committee. The Central Working Committee also didn’t take any decision on the matter.
According to Dila Sangraula, a Central Working Committee member, most of the leaders during the deliberations were for the continuation of the existing provision for foreign women married to Nepali men but no one raised voice for providing citizenship to foreign men married to Nepali women.
“Even the party president (Deuba) said that though he had tweeted about naturalised citizenship to foreign men who enter into matrimony with Nepali women, he was ready to accept what the Central Working Committee decides,” she told the Post.
Congress lawmaker and a central member Gagan Thapa, too, had raised the issue about equal provision in granting citizenship.
He is for having equal duration for acquiring naturalised citizenship for both women and men married to Nepali nationals.
Mahat, however, said the party took no decision to this effect, as the Constitution of Nepal doesn’t envision providing naturalised citizenship to foreign men tying nuptial knots with Nepali women.
The primary opposition on Tuesday also dwelt on its general convention, which is due next year.
The party leadership has proposed to hold its 14th general convention at the stipulated date while revising the date of ward and provincial level conventions.
The 14th general convention of the main opposition is scheduled for February 19-22 next year.
The party has called the meeting for Wednesday to take a decision on the date, as some of the leaders voiced for its postponement by a few months.
The Central Working Committee, as per the party’s statute, however, can revise the date to take it to August next year.
Pushpa Bhusal, a central committee member, said the party’s proposal to hold the general convention in February will be endorsed by Wednesday's meeting.
The party’s central committee on January 27 had fixed the February date for the jamboree.
Incumbent President Sher Bahadur Deuba was elected to the position from the 13th general convention held in March 2016.
Bhusal said though the party leadership has proposed not to change the date for general convention, it is for changing the date for ward and provincial level conventions.
“As per the proposed schedule, the party president will submit the list of active members to the central election committee by August 16,” said Bhusal.
Against the earlier decision to hold the ward-level convention on November 1, the party has proposed to hold it on December 22. Similarly, the convention at the local level will be held a day later. The convention at the provincial level has been proposed for December 26 while district level conventions will take place on December 28.