No, Parliament did not pass the ‘Nepal Citizenship Amendment Bill’

On July 14, 2022, the Indian news agency Press Trust of India (PTI) reported that Nepal’s Parliament had passed the Nepal Citizenship (First Amendment) Bill-2022 that had been under consideration for “more than two years as political parties failed to forge consensus on it.” The report, headlined “Nepal’s Parliament Passes First Citizenship Amendment Bill,” said the the House of Representatives (HoR) had approved the bill on Wednesday (July 14). Indian newspapers The Hindu, The Indian Express and Amar Ujala carried the report on their websites on July 14 and 15. Nepali outlets such as Badimalika Khabar and My Republica, which has deleted the report, also published the news.

Nepal Check has fact-checked the PTI report, and found two inaccuracies.

One, the PTI report incorrectly confuses the old bill to amend the Nepal Citizenship Act 2006 that had remained in limbo for nearly four years, but was withdrawn a few days before a new bill with the same name was reintroduced.

Two, the report incorrectly claims that the mere passage of a proposal to consider the new Citizenship Amendment Bill by the members of the HoR is the same as the HoR passing the bill, as seen from the timeline below. This error seems to have resulted from the PTI reporter’s lack of understanding of the country’s legislative process. A bill, once tabled in either house of parliament, goes through various steps before it is either approved or rejected by a majority of the plenary meeting.

Let’s look at the timeline involving both old and new Citizenship Amendment Bills.

  • On July 5, 2022, a Council of Ministers meeting decided to withdraw the Citizenship Amendment Bill, originally registered in Parliament on August 7, 2018, and register a new one by removing at least one controversial provision, according to a report published by The Kathmandu Post.

  • On July 8, 2022, Home Minister Bal Krishna Khand presented a proposal to the members of the HoR to withdraw the Citizenship Amendment Bill as per the cabinet decision. The HoR passed the proposal by a majority vote on the same day. During the same HoR meeting, the Home Minister said that a cabinet meeting to be held later that day would present a new Citizenship Amendment Bill before parliament.

  • On July 13, 2022, HoR members discussed and rejected by a majority vote a protest notice tabled by some MPs against the government’s decision to withdraw the old Citizenship Amendment Bill and introduce a new one, according to a news published by Nepal Press.

  • On July 13, 2022, after the protest notice was rejected, Home Minister Khand presented a new version of the Citizenship Amendment Bill before  the House of Representatives, according to the state-run The Rising Nepal newspaper.

Based on clear evidence and the timeline above, we conclude that the PTI report claiming the passage of the Citizenship Amendment Bill by Nepal’s Parliament is false. The HoR had passed a proposal to consider the bill, and not the bill itself.

Claim: Nepal’s Parliament passed the Citizenship Amendment Bill

Claimed by: Nepali and Indian news media

Verdict: False

Update: On July 22, 2022, the House of Representatives passed the bill to amend Citizenship Act.