Indian Constitution: Citizenship

Indian Polity: Citizenship

The Citizenship is mentioned in Part II of the Indian Constitution. The Citizenship and its benefits are covered under Article 5 to 11 of the Indian Constitution. The Citizenship provisions are covered under articles 5 to 11 of the Indian Constitution. The concept of Citizenship came into existence since the adoption of the Constitution on November 26, 1949. The Constitution of India laid down the law in regard to who would be the citizens of India at the time of commencement of the Constitution. The Constitution of India has not provided for the mode of acquisition and termination of citizenship. As per Article 11 of the Indian Constitution, the parliament could regulate the right of citizenship by law. The Parliament passed the Citizenship Act, 1955 for acquisition and termination of the Citizenship. Get some free tips here

Part II: Citizenship (Article 5 – 11)

Articles Related to Citizenship at a Glance
ArticleImportance
5Citizenship at the commencement of the Constitution
6Rights of citizenship of certain persons who have migrated to India from Pakistan
7Rights of citizenship of certain migrants to Pakistan.
8Rights of citizenship of certain persons of Indian origin residing outside India
9Persons voluntarily acquiring citizenship of a foreign State not to be citizens.
10Continuance of the rights of citizenship.
11Parliament to regulate the right of citizenship by law.

According to Indian Constitution, Indian can have 2 kind of people: Citizen and Aliens. Aliens are further divided Friendly and Enemy aliens. The Citizens enjoy all civil and political rights granted by the Constitution.

Constitutional Provisions

The Citizenship provides:

  • Full political membership in the state
  • permanent allegiance to the state
  • Official recognition by the state of his integration into the political system.

The citizen pledges loyalty to the state and The state protects the citizens.
The Citizenship to an individual also brings:

  • Rights
  • Duties
  • Privileges
  • Obligations

The Public (government) offices are open only to the citizens.
Only the citizens of India are eligible for the offices of:

  • The President (Article 58(1)(a))
  • The Vice President (Article 66(3)(a))
  • The Judge of the Supreme Court (Article 124(3))
  • The Judge of a High Court (Article 217(2))
  • The Attorney-General (Article 76(2))
  • The Governor of a State (Article 157)
  • The Advocate – General (Article 165)
  • The right of suffrage (vote) for the election to the House of the people (Lok sabha) and the Legislative assembly of every state – (Article 326)
  • Right to become a member of Parliament (Article 84)
  • Right to become a member of a state legislature (Article 191(d))
  • The citizens are eligible for recruitment to all public services.
  • Only the citizens have the right to vote

Who is Citizen of India?

On the basis of Article 11 of the Indian citizenship Act, the Parliament has enacted the Citizenship Act in 1955. The Citizenship Act of 1955 has been amended in 1957, 1960, 1985, 1986, 1992, 2003, 2005 and 2015.
Article 5: This provides that a person becomes entitled to the citizenship of India if, at the commencement of the Constitution he has his domicile in the territory of India, or he or either of his parents were born in India or He has been ordinarily resident in the territory of India for not less than 5 years immediately before the commencement of the Constitution.
According to the Articles 5 to 8 of the Indian Constitution, the following 4 categories of people became citizen of India at the time of the commencement of the Indian Constitution.

  • Persons domiciled in India
  • Persons migrated from Pakistan
  • Persons migrated to Pakistan but later returned to India
  • Persons of Indian origin residing outside India

Other Constitutional provisions with respect to the citizenship:

  • Article 9 does not allow dual citizenship. If a person voluntarily accepts citizenship of another country, they will not be recognised as a citizen of India.
  • Article 10 empowers the Parliament to make laws related to citizenship.
  • Article 11 empowers the Parliament to make laws related to acquisition and termination of citizenship.

Domicile:
– The term Domicile is not defined in the Indian Constitution.
– Domicile is a person’s residence where he intends to live on a permanent basis. Permanent residence And Intention to reside indefinitely Constitutes the Domicile.
Article 6:
This provides for citizenship rights of migrants from Pakistan before the commencement of the Constitution.
This provides 2 types of distinctions. Note: Permit system for migration was introduced on July 19, 1948.
– The people migrating to India before July 19, 1948
– The people migrating to India after July 19, 1948
A person migrated before July 19, 1948, shall be deemed to be a citizen of India on the commencement of the Constitution if.

  • The person Or His parents (born in India as defined by the GOI Act, 1935)
  • Any of grandparents (born in India as defined by the GOI Act, 1935) And Has been ordinarily residing in India since the date of the migration.

In case of migration after July 19, 1948

  • He should have been registered as a citizen of India by an officer appointed for the purpose by the government of India.
    And Has been residing in India for at least 6 months immediately preceding the date of application.

Article 7:
A person who migrated to Pakistan from India after March 1, 1947, but later returned to India for resettlement could become a citizen of India.

  • For this the person he had to be the resident of India for 6 months preceding the date of his application for registration.
  • Note: the meaning of Migration mentioned in Article 7 is the migration before the commencement of the Constitution.
  • The person migrating from Pakistan to India, after January 26, 1950 are governed by the Citizenship Act, 1955.

Article 8:
This Article provides that A person Or Any of his parents Or any of his grandparents born in India as defined by the Government of India Act, 1935 but ordinarily residing outside India shall become a citizen of India if registered as a citizen of India by the diplomatic representative of India in that country. This is with respect to before or after the commencement of the Constitution of India.
Article 9:
This provides that if a person voluntarily acquired the citizenship of another country, he shall forfeit the right of the citizenship of India.
– The above clause is applicable to cases arising before the commencement of the Indian Constitution.
– Such type of cases arising after the commencement of the Constitution shall be dealt by the Citizenship Act, 1955.
Note: whether a person has lost the citizenship of India after acquiring the Citizenship of the other country is to be decided by the government of India.
Article 10:
This provides that every person who is or is deemed to be a citizen of India under any of the provisions in the articles 5 to 10 shall continue to be a citizen of India. This is subject to the provisions of any law made by the parliament.
Article 11:
This article provides for the Parliament to enact legislations pertaining to the acquisition and termination of the citizenship of India.
The Parliament passes Citizenship Act in 1955 that provided methods for the acquisition and termination of the citizenship.
The citizenship can be acquired by 5 ways.

  • By Birth
  • By Descent
  • By Registration
  • By Naturalization
  • By incorporating a territory

The citizenship can be terminated in 3 methods.

  • Renunciation
  • Termination
  • Deprivation

Acquiring The Citizenship Of India

Citizenship by birth

  • Any person born in India on or after 26 January 1950, but prior to the commencement of the 1986 Act on 1 July 1987, is a citizen of India by birth.
  • A person born in India on or after 1 July 1987 is a citizen of India if either parent was a citizen of India at the time of the birth.
  • Those born in India on or after 3 December 2004 are considered citizens of India only if both of their parents are citizens of India or if one parent is a citizen of India and the other is not an illegal migrant at the time of their birth.

Note: The children of foreign diplomats posted in India and enemy aliens cannot acquire the Indian citizenship by birth.
Citizenship By Descent:

  • A person born outside India on 26th January 1950 and 10th December 1992 is Indian citizen if his father was an India citizen at the time of birth. (Not mother)
  • A person born outside India on 10th December 1992 is a citizen of India if either of his parents is Indian at the time of birth.
  • From 3rd December 2004, a person born outside India should register at an Indian consulate within one year of the date of birth.
  • Minors who are a citizen of India by Descent shall remain until they renounce their citizen of another country within 6 months of attaining full age.

Citizenship By Registration

  • Certain categories of persons can be registered as Indian citizens.
  • Persons of Indian origin who are ordinarily resident in India for 5 years immediately before making an application for registration
  • Persons of Indian origin who are ordinarily resident in any country or place outside India
  • Persons who are married to citizens of India and who are ordinarily resident in India for 5 years immediately before making an application for registration
  • Minor children of persons who are citizens of India And Persons who are citizens of commonwealth countries

Note: The period of acquisition of citizenship by registration was increased from 6 months to five years).
Citizenship By Naturalization:
A foreigner can acquire the citizenship of India by naturalisation if:

  • He renounces the citizenship of the other country
  • He is of good character
  • He has an adequate knowledge of a language mentioned in the 8th schedule of the Indian Constitution
  • He is not a citizen of a country where Indian citizens cannot become naturalised citizens
  • The government can waive all above conditions if a person has rendered distinguished service to the science, art, literature, world peace or human progress.

Citizenship By Incorporation Of Territory:
If any foreign territory becomes a part of India, then the government specifies through a notification that the people of that territory shall be the citizens of India. When Pondicherry became part of India, The GOI issued Pondicherry Citizenship Order in 1962, under the Citizenship Act 1955.
By Citizenship of Persons covered by Assam Accord
Any person of Indian origin who came to Assam before 1st January 1966 from Bangladesh

How is Citizenship lost?

By Renunciation:

  • This is a voluntary act by which a person holding the citizenship of India as well as that of another country may give up one of them.
  • When a person renounces the citizenship every minor child of his ceases to be an Indian citizen
  • But the child within one year after attaining 18 years of age may resume Indian citizenship.

By Termination

  • When an Indian citizen acquires the citizenship of other country voluntarily, the Indian citizenship is automatically terminated.

By Deprivation

  • This is a compulsory termination of the Indian citizenship by the central government if
  • The citizen has obtained the citizenship by fraud Or
  • The citizen has shown the disloyalty to the constitution of India
  • The citizen has unlawfully traded or communicated with the enemy during a war
  • The citizen has, within 5 years of registration or naturalisation been imprisoned in any country for 2 years
  • The citizen has been ordinarily resident out of India for 7 years continuously.

NOTE: This is not applicable to students and employees who are serving in the international organizations. If a person registers annually at the Indian consulate his intention to retain the Indian citizenship.
Miscellaneous:
– The Indian Constitution avoided the dual citizenship. The USA constitution allows dual citizenship.
– There is only once citizenship related to the domicile in the territory of whole India and not in a part of the country.
– The Citizenship act of 1955 provided for the Commonwealth Citizenships. But this provision was repealed by the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2003.
The PIO (Person of Indian Origin) card entitles a person to visit India without a visa.
Overseas Citizen of India (OCI) card: OCI Card is for foreign nationals who were eligible to become a citizen of India on 26.01.1950 or was a citizen of India on or after that date. Applications from citizens of Bangladesh and Pakistan are not allowed. January 9 was adopted as the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas or Overseas Indian Day based on the recommendations of a High Level Committee constituted in August, 2000.
Overseas Indian Card: A new Bill is pending in Parliament [The Citizenship (Amendment) Bill], which seeks to do away with the existing overseas citizen of India (OCI) card and the person of Indian origin (PIO) card, and replace them with a new overseas Indian card.
OCI is not dual citizenship, as Indian Constitution does not allow dual citizenship (Article 9). There are no voting rights for an OCI card holder.

Citizenship Act 1955 at a Glance

Citizenship Act 1955 at a Glance – As Amended Upto 2015
SectionsSubject Matter
 1.Short title
2.Interpretation
Acquisition of Citizenship
3.Citizenship by Birth
4.Citizenship by descent
5.Citizenship by registration
6.Citizenship by naturalisation
6ASpecial provisions as to Citizenship of persons covered by the Assam Accord
7.Citizenship by incorporation of territory
Overseas Citizenship
7A.Registration of Overseas Citizen of India Cardholder
7BConferment of rights on Overseas Citizen of India  Cardholder
7CRenunciation of Overseas Citizen of India Card
7DCancellation of registration as Overseas Citizen of India Cardholder
Termination of Citizenship
8Renunciation of citizenship
9Termination of citizenship
10Deprivation of citizenship
Supplemental
 11 Commonwealth Citizenship (Repealed)
12Power to confer rights of Indian Citizen on citizens of certain countries (Repealed)
13Certificate of Citizenship in case of doubt
14Disposal of application under section 5, 6, and 7A
14AIssue of national identity cards
15Revision
15AReview
16Delegation of Powers
17Offences
18Power to make rules
19Repeals (Repealed)

Schedules of the Citizenship Act (1955)

Schedules of the Citizenship Act (1955) at a Glance
NumbersSubject Matter
First ScheduleList of countries related to the commonwealth citizenship (Omitted by the 2003 Amendment)
Second ScheduleOath of Allegiance
Third ScheduleQualification for Naturalisation
Fourth ScheduleList of countries related to the overseas citizenship (Ommited by the 2005 Amendment)

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