Petition claims Lamichhane is not a Nepali citizenThe journalist-turned-politician is accused of not ceding his Nepali citizenship even after taking US citizenship.
A writ petition has been filed against Rabi Lamichhane, the president of the Rastriya Swatantra Party, at the Supreme Court demanding annulment of his membership of the House of Representatives. The petitioner has argued that Lamichhane is not a Nepali citizen.
Advocate Yuvaraj Poudel, the petitioner, also demanded that Lamichhane should be removed from the post of party chief. The petitioner has said as only Nepali citizens have the constitutional right to vote in elections, become candidates and open a political party in the country, Lamichhane’s positions as the member of the lower house and party president are illegal.
“The hearing on the petition will start in the Constitutional Bench from December 21,” Bimal Poudel, spokesperson at the Supreme Court, told the Post.
Lamichhane has been accused of not relinquishing his Nepali citizenship even after acquiring citizenship of another country (in this case, the United States) and producing the copy of his old citizenship to file his candidacy in Chitwan-2 in the election last month.
As per Section 10 of the Citizenship Act, any person who acquires the citizenship of a foreign country automatically loses Nepali citizenship. The Act, however, has a provision under which the person can reclaim the Nepali citizenship after renouncing foreign citizenship.
Section 11 of the Citizenship Act says if any Nepali citizen who has acquired foreign citizenship returns to reside in Nepal and submits the evidence of renunciation of foreign citizenship to the designated authority, his/her Nepali citizenship shall be provided again.
Clause 11 of the regulation to the Act says the person who has renounced the foreign citizenship should apply to the Ministry of Home Affairs or the concerned District Administration Office to reclaim his/her Nepali citizenship. The concerned authority, after studying the application, would issue the Nepali citizenship containing the same details mentioned in the previous document. However, the copy of the citizenship Lamichhane produced to file his candidacy in the November 20 election was issued in 1993. That means it is the same citizenship that he had acquired before moving to the United States of America.
Lamichhane has been claiming that he had renounced his American citizenship and its proof was submitted to the Immigration Department to revive his older citizenship. He, however, has failed to make it clear whether or not he has reacquired the new certificate of Nepali citizenship.
A complaint was lodged against him in the Election Commission as well on the same ground. However, the poll body did not take any action, arguing he was already elected. Lamichhane got elected to Parliament from Chitwan-2 defeating former lawmaker Krishna Bhakta Pokharel of the CPN-UML and Umesh Shrestha of Nepali Congress by a huge margin.
Lamichhane, a Television journalist-turned politician, formed Rastriya Swatantra Party in June and contested in the federal election. The newly-formed outfit won 20 seats to emerge as the fourth largest party in the House of Representatives.