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Citizenship of India


Part ii (Articles 5 to 11) of our, Constitution deals with the matters of Citizenship of India. A citizen of the state is a person, who enjoys full civil and political rights. India has two kinds of persons living in the country namely Citizens and Aliens. The Citizens are the permanent and full members of the Union of India who enjoy all the civil and political rights. On the other hand, Aliens are the people belonging to some other nation and are citizens of some other country.

Part ii of the Constitution simply describes citizenship of classes of persons living in India at the commencement of the Constitution, i.e., 26th January 1950 and leaves the entire Law of Citizenship of India to be regulated by legislation made by the Parliament.



Part ii Citizenship

Article 5: Citizenship of India at the commencement of the constitution.

Article 6: Rights of Citizenship of certain persons of Indian origin residing outside India.

Article 7: Rights of Citizenship of certain migrants to Pakistan.

Article 8: Rights of citizenship of certain persons of Indian origin residing outside India.

Article 9: Persons voluntarily acquiring Citizenship of a Foreign State not to be citizens.

Article 10: Continuance of the Rights of Citizenship of India.

Article 11: Parliament to regulate the Right of Citizenship of India by Law.


Provisions Related to Citizenship of India

As per our Constitution, following categories of people became citizens of India at its commencement on 26th January 1950.

1. A person with domicile in the territory of India and born in Indian territory or either of his/her parents were born in India or if he is ordinarily resident in India for 5 years immediately after preceding the commencement of the Constitution (Article 5).

2. A person, Who migrated from Pakistan to India and is born in undivided India or any of his parents or any of the grandparents were born in undivided India and fulfills any one of the two conditions, in case, he migrated to India before 19th July 1948, he has been ordinarily resident in India since the date of his migration or in case, he migrated to India on or after 19th July 1948, he had been registered as a citizen of India (Article 6).

3. A person, who migrated to Pakistan from India after 1st March 1947, but later returned to India for resettlement could become an Indian citizen, after being a resident of India for six months presiding his date of application for registration for Citizenship of India (Article 7).

4. A person who or any of whose parents or grandparents, was born in undivided India but who is ordinarily residing outside India shall become an Indian Citizen if he has been registered as a citizen of India by the diplomatic or consular representative of India in the country of his residence, whether before or after the commencement of the Constitution. Thus this provision covers the overseas Indians who may want to acquire Citizenship of India (Article 8). There is another form of Citizenship, Which is automatically incorporated if any new territory becomes the part of the Union of India.


Getting Citizenship of India

As per the Citizenship Act of 1955, there are five ways of acquiring Citizenship in India.

By Birth

Every person born in India on or after 26th January 1950, shall be a citizen of India provided either or both of his/her parents are citizens of India at the time of his/her birth. But this law does not apply where his/her parent/parents are diplomats of any other country or is an enemy alien at the time of his/her birth.

By Descent

Broadly, a person born outside India on or after 26th January 1950, is a citizen of India by descent if his/either of the parents is a citizen of India at the time of that person's birth.

By Registration

The prescribed authority may, on application, register as a citizen of India, any person who is not a citizen under the Constitution or the provisions of the Citizenship Act.

This mode of acquiring Citizenship of India is available to any of the following categories

1. Persons of Indian origin who is ordinarily resident in India for 7 years immediately before making an application for registration.

2. Persons of Indian origin who is ordinarily resident in any country or place outside undivided India.

3. Persons who are or have been married to citizens of India.

4. Minor children of persons who are the citizens of India?

5. A person of full age and capacity whose parents are registered as citizens of India.

6. A person of full age and capacity who or either of his parents was earlier citizen of independent India and has been residing in India for one year immediately before making an application for registration.

7. A person of full age and capacity who has been registered as an overseas citizen of India for five years and who has been residing in India for one year before making an application for registration.

All the above categories of persons are required to take an oath of allegiance before they are registered as citizens in India.


An Ordinary Resident

An applicant shall be deemed to be ordinarily resident in India if

·        he/she has resided in India throughout the period of twelve months immediately before making an application for registration and

·        he/she has resided in India for the eight years immediately preceding the said period of twelve months for a period of not less than six years.

Person of Indian Origin

Broadly a person of Indian origin is a citizen of another country who

·        was a citizen of India on 26th January 1950 or at any time thereafter; or

·        belonged to a territory that became a part of India after 15th August 1947; or

·        is the child or grandchild of a person described above; and

·        has never been a citizen of Pakistan or Bangladesh


Aliens are generally divided in to two categories namely

Friendly Aliens: Those who belong to those countries, which have friendly relations with India.

Enemy Aliens: Those belonging to the countries, which are at war with India. They enjoy lesser rights than the friendly aliens.


By Naturalization

Citizenship of India by naturalization can be acquired by making an application in the prescribed manner.

The qualification for naturalization are the following :

1. He must be a person of full age and capacity.

2. He must not be a citizen of a country where Indian citizens are prevented from becoming citizens by naturalization.

3. He has renounced the citizenship of the other country.

4. He has either resided in India or has been in government service for 12 months before the date of making the application for naturalization, or during 7 years before these 12 months, he has resided or has been in the government service for not less than four years.

5. He must take an oath of allegiance.

6. He is of good character.

7. He has adequate knowledge of a language recognized by the Constitution.

By Incorporation of Territories

If any territory becomes a part of India, after a popular verdict, the Government of India shall specify the person of that territory to be the citizen of India.

In India, there is a single citizenship i.e., citizenship of India. A citizen is an individual who enjoys all the rights are given by the law, available in the country.


Losing Citizenship of India

The citizenship Act, 1955, also describes three-way of losing one's citizenship in India using renunciation, termination, and deprivation.


It is covered in Section 8 of the Citizenship Act, 1955. If an adult citizen of India makes in the prescribed manner a declaration shall be registered by the Central Government and upon such registration, that person shall cease to be a citizen of India.


When a citizen of India of full age and capacity voluntarily acquires the citizenship of another country, the Indian Citizenship of that person shall be automatically terminated.


The Central Government under section 10 of the Indian Citizenship Act, 1955 can deprive anyone of Indian Citizenship if it is satisfied that the registration or certificate of naturalization was obtained using fraud, false representation or concealment of any material fact or the citizen of India has, during any war, in which Indian may be engaged, unlawfully traded, or communicated with an enemy or been engaged in or associated with, any business or commercial activity that was to his knowledge carried on in such manner as to assist an enemy in that war or the citizen of India has, within five years after registration has been sentenced to imprisonment for a term of not less than two years.


Dual Citizenship and OCI

(Overseas Citizens of India)

The Constitution of India forbids Dual Citizenship. No person can hold an Indian passport simultaneously with the passport of another country. There is however a form of Indian Nationality is known as Overseas Citizens of India(OCI).

The Indian Government on the application may register any person as an Overseas Citizen of India if that person is of Indian Origin and is from a country, which allows Dual Citizenship in some form or other. OCI however is not a full Citizenship of India and is not equivalent to Dual Citizenship.

People with OCI status are given a type of Visa known as U-Visa, which is attached to the passport of the country of which they are citizens. This Visa allows the holders multiple entries, multi-purpose, life-long visits to India. Persons holding this visa are not required to obtain separate work permits to work in India.

Overseas Citizens of India are not eligible to hold constitutional posts or be appointed to public services, OCI is also not allowed to invest in agriculture or plantation properties.


Non-Resident Indians (NRI)

Non-Resident Indians (NRIs) are Indian citizens, who stay abroad for employment/carrying on business or vocation outside India. section 20 of Representation of People Act (RPA)-1950 discuss; if a Non-Resident Indian (NRI) from getting his/her name registered in the electoral rolls. Consequently, it also prevents an NRIs from casting his/her vote in elections to the parliament and to the State Legislature.

In August 2010, Representation of the People (Amendment) Bill-2010 which allows voting rights to NRIs were passed in both Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha with subsequent gazette notifications on 24th November 2010. With this NRIs will now be able to vote in Indian elections, but have to be physically present at the time of voting.

Also Read:

The preamble to the constitution of India

Right to equality

Right to Freedom of Speech and Expression      




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