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SC directs government not to implement Citizenship Bill

SC directs government not to implement Citizenship Bill
The Supreme Court has issued an interim order directing the government not to implement the Citizenship Bill authenticated by President Ram Chandra Paudel immediately. Hearing the writ petitions filed by senior advocate Surendra Bhandari and Bal Krishna Neupane on Sunday, a single bench of Justice Manoj Kumar Sharma issued a short-term order directing the government to not implement the Citizenship Bill certified by President Paudel. The apex court has called both sides for the discussion.

The government has already published the Citizenship Bill in the Nepal gazette.

Earlier on Friday, senior advocate Bhandari and Neupane had registered separate writs against the authentication of the bill. The writs were filed at the Supreme Court after President Paudel certified the controversial Citizenship Bill on Wednesday. On August 15, 2022, President Bidya Devi Bhandari had returned this very Bill to the House of Representatives for a review, in accordance with a constitutional provision, 15 days after its submission for authentication after endorsement from the House of Representatives and the National Assembly on July 22 and July 28, respectively. But the Parliament had again sent the legal instrument to the President’s Office for authentication without incorporating presidential concerns. Subsequently, President Bhandari kept the Bill on hold, courting controversy with a section of the legal fraternity pointing that it was a breach of authority on the part of the head of the state. Amid a continuing controversy, the country went for federal and provincial elections on November 20, 2022 and a new Parliament took shape along with new governments and a new President. This meant the expiry of the old Bill, per experts. But the Pushpa Kamal Dahal-led coalition government chose to press ahead with the same Bill and got an express seal of approval, without the President bothering to send it back to the HoR for review. When the then President Bhandari refused to authenticate this Bill, some parties accused her of violating the Constitution. Later, the government chose to submit the Bill to the President instead of tabling it to the House of Representatives or the National Assembly for approval. Subsequently, the President authenticated it. Meanwhile, the main opposition CPN-UML obstructed the Parliament meeting today over the authentication of the bill.