Lamichhane Becomes Stateless Due to Procedural Fault in Obtaining Nepali Citizenship


Rabi Lamichhane has turned stateless with today’s decision of the Supreme Court (SC).

He turned to be stateless when the apex court did not recognize the citizenship he used in the election time. He has lost the positions of Deputy Prime Minister and Home Minister, Member of Parliament and Chairperson of Rastriya Swatantra Party (RSP) after he became stateless.

The SC verdict claimed there was no dispute in his act on renouncing the US citizenship in 2018 but he did not pay attention in retaining citizenship by completing the process after returning Nepal.
According to Assistant Attorney General, Sanjeeb Raj Regmi, the apex court has concluded that Lamichhane was not found completing the due process for retaining citizenship to become the Nepali citizen though he had terminated the US citizenship.

He further said, “After giving up the citizenship, Lamichhane had to submit an application to the Chief District Officer requesting for re-acquisition of the citizenship after returning Nepal. But, the process was not duly followed”, he said, adding that his earlier citizenship was retained if the process was completed.

The SC has concluded that Lamichahne was not qualified to become the candidate for the member of the House of Representatives for not completing the process for retaining citizenship.

Senior Advocate Dr Chandrakanta Gywali said the apex court concluded that Lamichahne did a procedural error in claiming the citizenship. “He was no more a Nepali citizen in the situation he was still the US citizen. After renouncing foreign citizenship he had to complete a process for re-obtaining Nepali citizenship which includes submission of an application with the evidence of renouncement”, Gyawali said. “Once the process was over, his previous citizenship would have been retained. This is a simple process, also does not take time. Law has not adopted any policy to leave any citizen stateless”, the senior advocate further said.

With the annulment of lawmaker post, Rabi Lamichhane has tendered resignation from the post of Deputy Prime Minister and Home Minister.

Lamichhane’s Personal secretary Prakash Sigdel informed that Lamichhane submitted his resignation to Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal ‘Prachanda’ on Friday itself.

According to the legal provision, his citizenship can be retained after he submitted an application for requisition of the citizenship in Nepal with evidence of renouncement of the foreign citizenship.
It may be noted that the apex court has annulled Lamichhane’s post of lawmaker today. The constitutional bench of Supreme Court issued the verdict to this regard after hearing the case on Lamichhane’s acquisition of Nepali citizenship and the US passport.

The verdict reads, “After giving up the US citizenship, Lamichhane was not found adhering to the legal process to acquire the Nepali citizenship again. So, he did not deserve to be the candidate of the member of House of Representatives nor could hold the lawmaker’s post. With this, a certiorari order is issued as per Article 133 (b and c) and Article 137 of Constitution of Nepal by scrapping all activities as making Lamichhane an election candidate, announcing his election victory, and conferring him the certificate.”

Lamichhane had taken the Nepali citizenship by descent in 2050BS, while he had taken the US citizenship in 2070BS. Similarly, in course of giving up the US citizenship in 2075BS, he had informed about it to the US Embassy in Nepal in Asar 14, 2075BS.