UML lambastes government on citizenship bill approval, pardon for ChaudharyPresident Ramchandra Paudel authenticated the bill on May 31, the day Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal embarked on an India visit.
The main opposition CPN-UML has said the President’s move to authenticate the pending bill to amend the Citizenship Act undermines Parliament.
The party’s secretariat meeting held at its Chyasal-based head office on Friday drew up the conclusion that authenticating the citizenship bill was not only a disgrace to the sovereign parliament but also a violation of the constitution.
According to UML deputy general secretary Pradeep Gyawali, his party had reached a view that endorsing the citizenship bill based on the Cabinet’s recommendation goes against the parliamentary system.
The UML has also said it would put up stiff protests against the decisions.
“Our party will strongly protest the move that violates the constitution and the prerogative of Parliament,” Gyawali told journalists after the party meeting.
Gyawali, however, didn’t elaborate on the kind of protests that the party was planning.
The government, on May 26, had requested President Ramchandra Paudel to authenticate the citizenship bill which former president Bidya Devi Bhandari had refused to approve despite the federal parliament endorsing it twice.
As per the government’s decision, Paudel had authenticated the bill on May 31, the day Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal embarked on a four-day India visit leading a jumbo team of about 120 delegates.
The Sheetal Niwas stated that the President authenticated the bill as per Article 61 (2) (3) (4) and Article 66 of the Constitution of Nepal and in accordance with the principle propounded by the Supreme Court after receiving a letter from the Office of the Prime Minister and the Council of Ministers requesting the authentication of the amendment bill.
The UML also said the authentication of the citizenship bill has given credence to the suspicion that the prime minister and the President’s Office want to set a precedent that the citizenship issue was not only Nepal’s internal matter but also the concern of foreigners.
The main opposition also argues that the pardon given to the person [Resham Chaudhary] convicted by all three tiers of courts was a serious mistake. “The decision taken even without waiting for the full text of the Supreme Court’s verdict will raise various questions,” Gyawali said.
He also said the decision taken in view of saving the ruling coalition would affect the morale of security forces. The decision of the government has hit the morale of the police force, Gyawali said.
The UML decision, however, contradicts the statements its chairman KP Sharma Oli made around five months ago at Dhangadhi. Addressing a mass meeting in Chaudhary’s home district, Oli had said Chaudhary was accused in the case even as he was not there when the incident took place in 2015.
The Oli government, on June 1, 2021, had signed a six-point agreement with the Tharuhat Joint Struggle Committee to withdraw the case against Resham Chaudhary, Dhaniram Chaudhary, and Laxman Chaudhary, accused in the Tikapur incident. Efforts will be made to withdraw cases and secure the release of these people, as per the law and the constitution, reads the six-point agreement.
The President pardoned the remaining jail terms of 501 convicts including Chaudhary on the occasion of Republic Day on Monday.
Nineteen of them were pardoned based on the government’s recommendation and the 482 for having completed 50 percent of their jail terms and demonstrating good behaviour.
On Prime Minister Dahal’s India visit, Gyawali said Nepal’s priorities were ignored but all those of the southern neighbour were endorsed.
He said the party will come up with its official views on the visit only after Prime Minister Dahal returns home.