The Supreme Court the other day annulled the lawmaker's position of incumbent Deputy Prime Minister and Home Minister Rabi Lamichhane, therefore invalidating his ability to continue in all positions he held after he and his party became a key part of the present government. The court concluded in its historic judgement that Lamichhane was not a legal Nepali citizen when he filed his nomination to contest general elections from Chitwan's Constituency 2. Though the former popular television presenter won the election by a wide majority due to his enormous popularity, he neglected to follow some legal requirements in getting his citizenship, which cost him dearly. He did not reclaim the Nepali citizenship he had claimed in 1994 but relinquished it after becoming a US citizen in 2014, when he migrated and settled there. Other errors, it was later discovered, were that he had gotten another Nepali passport on the basis of the same Nepali citizenship that he had renounced and had not reclaimed legally.
The constitutional bench of the Supreme Court that heard his case issued a lawful judgement because records proved that Lamichhane had failed to recover citizenship under Clauses 10 and 11 of the Citizenship Act 2063 B.S. and other rules and regulations relating to the Act. Despite having informed the relevant district administration office of his decision to renounce his American citizenship in 2018, he had failed to follow the required legal procedure for regaining Nepali citizenship. As a result, he could not have run in the legislative elections under Article 87 (1) of the Constitution and Clause 12 of the House of Representatives Election Act 2017. Following the court's decision, all of his acts that led him to become a lawmaker in Nepal became illegal, rendering him unable to continue in all of his positions. Following the order, he was also unable to continue as the chair of his party, which he had created eight months ago.
After the Supreme Court's verdict, Lamichhane had no choice but to resign from his post. If he wants to bounce back to the same position, he has to start fresh process to reclaim his Nepali citizenship and prepare himself to run in the by-election from the same seat where he had gained a massive mandate. He showed some sense when he stated that he appreciated the Supreme Court judgement. Now he could not appeal against the verdict issued by the constitutional bench of the apex court, which, he rued, made him a stateless and a non-citizen person. After losing all of his positions, Lamichhane, who still has a sizable following across the country, must have felt that his minor blunder of failing to reclaim citizenship through due process deprived him of all positions in party, parliament and government.
His failure brought him down, and it has hurt his reputation as a popular leader who came to prominence in the nation's politics in a relatively short period of time. The Supreme Court’s decision also revealed an essential truth: the subject of citizenship is extremely sensitive in our country, and everyone involved must take it very seriously. When the same issue is directly tied to a prominent individual like Lamichhane, it draws the attention of the entire nation. Without a doubt, such a circumstance necessitates careful consideration and a wise decision, which the SC's senior justices appear to have made when they declared Lamichhane's position as a legislator null and void.