Kathmandu – The Chairperson of the Rastriya Swatantra Party (RSP), Rabi Lamichhane, has been declared stateless by the Supreme Court of Nepal, resulting in the loss of his political positions as Deputy Prime Minister, Home Minister, Member of Parliament, and Chairperson of the RSP.
The verdict stated that while there was no dispute in Lamichhane’s renunciation of his US citizenship in 2018, he failed to complete the necessary process for retaining Nepali citizenship upon his return. According to Assistant Attorney General, Sanjeeb Raj Regmi, Lamichhane did not submit an application to the Chief District Officer for re-acquiring Nepali citizenship after giving up his US citizenship.
The Supreme Court concluded that Lamichhane’s procedural error in claiming citizenship resulted in him being disqualified from running for the House of Representatives. Senior Advocate Dr. Chandrakanta Gywali stated that Lamichhane had to complete the process for re-obtaining Nepali citizenship, which would have included submitting an application with evidence of renunciation, in order to retain his previous citizenship.
Respecting the Supreme Court’s decision, Lamichhane tendered his resignation as Deputy Prime Minister and Home Minister. The legal provisions state that Lamichhane’s citizenship can be reinstated if he submits an application with evidence of renunciation of his foreign citizenship.
The Supreme Court’s verdict annulled Lamichhane’s post as a lawmaker, with a certiorari order being issued in accordance with the Constitution of Nepal. The constitutional bench of the Supreme Court made the ruling after considering Lamichhane’s acquisition of Nepali citizenship and a US passport.
In its verdict, the Supreme Court stated that Lamichhane failed to adhere to the legal process for re-acquiring Nepali citizenship and thus did not deserve to hold the position of a lawmaker. All activities related to Lamichhane’s candidacy, election victory, and conferral of the certificate have been scrapped.