Revocation of Citizenship

In 1985, the government of Bhutan passed a new Citizenship Act having retroactive applications and fixing 1958 as cut off date for citizenship. This Act became the basis for the so-called census exercise carried out only in the southern districts in 1988, in which every household of the southern population had to produce documentary evidence of having legal residence such as land tax receipt of 1958, or else be a non-national. The census teams randomly categorised the southern Bhutanese and in many instances members under a same household fell into seven different categories. In many cases citizenship cards previously issued were confiscated. Many genuine Bhutanese citizens who could not produce land tax receipt of 1958 were declared non-nationals. The village headmen, formerly considered knowledgeable and authoritative sources in census matters, were not taken into confidence and were not permitted to testify the credentials of their village people.

Sita Mothe, the wife of Buddhiman Mothe, a Bhutanese citizen of Chirang district committed suicide on fear of being separated from her husband and children when the census team threatened to deport her from the country for being a non-national. Mrs.Mothe was an Indian citizen by origin who had married a Bhutanese national.


Citizenship Act 1958       |      Citizenship Act 1985