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Nepal President sends controversial Citizenship Bill back to parliament for further discussion

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Kathmandu | August 14, 2022 9:29:20 PM IST
Nepali President Bidhya Devi Bhandari on Sunday sent back a controversial citizenship bill to the country's parliament for further discussions and amendments required in the existing provisions.

The latest move of the President comes less than a month since the bill, which remained pending for three years, was endorsed by parliament. It had reached the table of the President for ratification which has been denied by the state head, the Office of the President said in a statement.

The President wants some serious discussion on the bill. As per the constitution, President Bidhya Bhandari had only two days remaining to decide on the bill which was on her table.

In the past few days, President Bhandari had discussed Citizenship Bill with Nepal Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba, Minister for Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs Gobinda Prasad Sharma (Koirala), Attorney General Khamma Bahadur Khati and others. Aside from this, the chief of state had held rounds of discussion with leaders of various political parties and civil societies.

Similarly, President Bhandari also discussed the issue of naturalized citizenship. She also deliberated whether or not federal laws are needed for citizenship as mentioned in the constitution.

According to the country's constitution, the Bill sent by the Council of Ministers cannot be stopped, examined and studied by the President. Only parliament can test it, and the constitution provides that the bill sent for certification can be returned with a message that the president is not satisfied.

During the discussion with Prime Minister Deuba, President Bhandari inquired about whether she would certify the bill with questions, and send it after keeping the bill and amending it. It is said that Prime Minister Deuba could not promise to re-pass the bill on the question raised by President Bhandari.

There is also a provision in the Constitution that if the President feels that it is necessary to reconsider the bill, she can send it back to the House within 15 days of its submission.

However, if the president returns a bill with a message, there is a constitutional provision that the president must verify such a bill within 15 days if both Houses reconsider and pass such a bill with amendments and resubmit it.

The second time the bill reaches the president, there is no option but to certify it. But the constitution does not envisage the option of what to do if the president does not certify the bill.

There is also an understanding that when the bill is sent back, the government will take its position and the president will have no choice but to certify the bill that was re-passed without amendment. (ANI)

 
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