Supreme Court overturns own decision on Home Ministry’s citizenship circular

  • Fate of thousands of people is in limbo until the full court decides the case
- Bhrikuti Rai, Kathmandu

May 7, 2019-

The Supreme Court has, once again, stayed a Home Ministry circular to chief district officers to grant citizenship by descent to the children of those individuals whose parents are citizens by birth.

The order comes less than two weeks after the top court issued an interim order to stop granting citizenship by descent to individuals whose parents obtained citizenship by birth in 1997, under the recommendation of a committee led by Jitendra Dev.

A joint bench of Justice Ishwar Prasad Khatiwada and Sushmalata Mathema on Tuesday also decided to send the issue to the full court.

Amid uncertainty surrounding the amendment to the Citizenship Act-2006, the Home Ministry had issued a circular to all the 77 chief district officers last month, telling them to grant citizenship by descent to individuals whose parents are citizens by birth.

“It is necessary to address the difficulties faced by those who, despite reaching the eligible age, have not been able to receive their citizenship,” the circular stated, emphasising how thousands of people without citizenship had been adversely affected when it came to accessing education and employment opportunities.

The order was immediately challenged in court by advocate Balkrishna Neupane, and days later, the court issued an interim order, asking chief district officers across the country to not implement the ministry’s circular.

But on April 17, a joint bench of Justices Hari Krishna Karki and Bam Kumar Shrestha overturned the previous order and upheld the ministry’s decision.

The court has not decided yet when the full court will sit to decide the case.

Published: 08-05-2019 06:30

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