Citizenship is a social and legal term that describes one's affiliation with and
rights inside a certain country or political organization. It is a connection
between a person and their country state.
There are many distinct definitions of citizenship, and each nation has its own
standards, obligations, and privileges that come with being a citizen. Many
countries accept dual citizenship, when a person has citizenship in two or more
countries, while others may only recognize one kind of citizenship.
Two established rules govern the award of citizenship:
- 'Jus soli' awards citizenship based on place of birth, but 'Jus sanguinis' recognizes blood links.
- The Indian government has supported the progressive idea of jus soli since the Motilal Nehru Committee (1928).
- The Constituent Assembly also disapproved of the racial notion of jus sanguinis since it went against the character of India.
How Citizenship developed in India
Following the partition of India into Pakistan in 1947, when it became
independent from British colonial authority, there was a significant population
shift for political and religious reasons. As individuals crossed the newly
established boundaries, it became difficult to maintain stability and order. The
Indian government established a permission system on July 19, 1948, to solve
The permit system was designed to manage and restrict the flow
of people through the Pakistan-India border. Individuals had to get permission
from their respective governments to cross the border under this arrangement.
India's formalization of the passport and visa systems in 1950 signaled the
start of a more organized approach to citizenship and foreign travel. For people
going abroad, passports have become a vital piece of identification, and visas
are necessary for visitors to India. This technique made it possible to better
monitor and control international mobility.
The Citizenship Act of 1955 was enacted by the Indian government and outlined
the procedures for gaining and relinquishing Indian citizenship. The statute
specified many ways to become a citizen, such as by birth, descent,
registration, and naturalization. Additionally, it set the requirements for
citizenship termination and renunciation.
Constitutional provision for citizenship
Articles 5 through 11 of Part II of the Indian Constitution, which addresses the
idea of citizenship, are included. These articles describe and lay out the rules
of citizenship in the nation.
India's Constitution puts citizenship on the Union List, making the Parliament
the only body with authority over it. This indicates that the Parliament has the
power to pass legislation and laws pertaining to citizenship-related issues,
such as its obtaining and revocation.
The Constitution's Part 2, which covers Articles 5 to 11, contains information
on the many types of people who are entitled to Indian citizenship, despite the
fact that the word "citizen" is not defined expressly in the document. The
approval of the Constitution on November 26, 1949, resulted in the
implementation of Articles 5 to 11, which establish the rules for citizenship
and cover situations like birth in India, migration, and citizenship from
another country. Prior to the remainder of the Constitution's provisions taking
force on January 26, 1950, this took place. This early implementation emphasizes
how crucial it is to clarify and establish citizenship as a core component of
the Indian state and its legal structure.
The Constitution's treatment of citizenship is a reflection of the difficulties
India faced after its independence, notably those brought on by partition and
demographic shifts. These sections address the varying conditions of people and
groups, ensuring that they are acknowledged and incorporated into the Indian
democracy by outlining distinct categories of persons who are entitled to
citizenship. In addition to creating a legal framework that maintains the rights
and obligations of citizens in the Indian nation, the Parliament's power to
regulate citizenship enables the adaptation of citizenship laws to changing
conditions and new difficulties.
"At the commencement of this Constitution, every person who has his domicile in
the territory of India and�(a) who was born in the territory of India; (b)
either of whose parents was born in the territory of India; or (c) who has been
ordinarily resident in the territory of India for not less than five years
immediately preceding such commencement, shall be a citizen of India."
The requirements for becoming an Indian citizen at the time of the
Constitution's inception (January 26, 1950) are outlined in this article. It
states that if a person satisfies specific requirements connected to domicile,
birthplace, parentage, and residency, they would be regarded as an Indian
Article 5 citizenship requirements include:
- Domicile: The individual must be a resident of Indian territory. A person's domicile is the legal term for their permanent residency in a particular location.
- Indian birthplace: A person is immediately eligible for Indian citizenship if they were born on Indian soil. Jus soli, or citizenship by place of birth, is the legal term for this.
- Parents' Birth in India: In addition, if one or both of the applicant's parents were born on Indian soil, they are also eligible for citizenship. This clause recognizes the idea of jus sanguinis, or citizenship via ancestry.
- Ordinary Residence: To qualify for Indian citizenship, a person must have lived in India's territory regularly for at least five years immediately before the Constitution took effect (between January 26, 1945, and January 26, 1950). Ordinary residency is defined as regularly residing in India without any intention of doing so permanently.
To include those with significant ties to India as citizens, these requirements
combine the jus soli, jus sanguinis, and residence-based criterion. Article 5
attempts to guarantee that persons who are born in India, those having
generational links to India, and those who have made India their home for a
substantial amount of time be acknowledged as citizens by integrating these
Regardless of what is stated in Article 5, someone who immigrated to India from
a region that is now part of Pakistan would be considered an Indian citizen at
the time this Constitution takes effect if:
(a) He was born in India, as defined by the Government of India Act, 1935 (as
originally passed), or any of his parents or any of his grandparents; and
(a) (i) such person has been ordinarily residing in the territory of India from
the date of his migration if he has moved before the nineteenth day of July,
(ii) in the event that such person migrated on or after July 19, 1948, he has
been registered as an Indian citizen by an officer appointed in that capacity by
the Government of the Dominion of India on an application made by him to such
officer prior to the start of this Constitution in the form and manner
prescribed by that Government: Provided, however, that no person shall be so
registered unless he has been a resident in the territory of India.
Article 6's requirements for citizenship include:
- Migration from Pakistan:
After India was partitioned in 1947, people who lived in the area that is now part of Pakistan went to India.
- Birth in India:
According to the Government of India Act, 1935 (as originally passed), a person must have been born in India to be eligible for citizenship under this article, as well as the births of any of their parents or grandparents.
- Residency and Migration Date Requirements:
- Migration Prior to July 19, 1948: provided a person immigrated to India before July 19, 1948, they will be regarded as Indian citizens provided they have regularly resided there since that time.
Migration on or After July 19, 1948: If a person immigrated to India on or after
July 19, 1948, an official nominated by the Government of the Dominion of India
may register them as an Indian citizen. This registration is based on an
application submitted by the individual before the Constitution took effect, in
the manner and with the specified form. In addition, the applicant must have
lived in India's territory for at least six months before to the application
This article acknowledges the difficulties associated with migration caused by
the partition and offers a mechanism for those who relocated from the area that
became Pakistan to get Indian citizenship. The requirements are made to make
sure that only persons who have lived in India continuously and have historical
ties to the country are awarded citizenship.
Certain immigrants to Pakistan are entitled to citizenship under Article 7 of
the Citizenship Act. This article especially discusses those who immigrated to
Pakistan after March 1, 1947, but afterwards used resettlement permits to go
back to their country of origin.
However, nothing in this article shall apply to a person who, after having
migrated to the territory now included in Pakistan, has returned to the
territory of India under a permit for resettlement or permanent return issued
pursuant to Articles 5 and 6, provided that such a person migrated from the
territory of India to the territory now included in Pakistan after the first day
of March, 1947.
Due to racial tensions and political upheavals, India was divided in 1947, which
led to a significant population relocation. The newly formed country of
Pakistan, which was partitioned along religious lines (with Pakistan designated
as a separate homeland for Muslims), saw millions of people traveling between it
and India. There was a lot of chaos and disturbance throughout this exodus.
The clause does have a significant exemption, however. A person is not
disqualified from Indian citizenship if they return to the territory of India
with a permission for resettlement or permanent return after migrating to the
area presently incorporated into Pakistan after March 1, 1947. This exemption
acknowledges the difficulties and difficulties that those who may have first
fled but subsequently decided to return to India may have endured.
Impact on Citizenship:
The application of Article 7 affects how citizenship is
determined in accordance with Article 6 as well. A Pakistani immigrant to India
may qualify for citizenship under Article 6 of the Indian Constitution provided
they fulfill certain requirements, including staying in India for a certain
amount of time.
One may register to become an Indian citizen via the diplomatic or consular
representation of India in a foreign nation if they are already residing in
another country and either of their parents or grandparents were born in India.
Under this, the individual is now residing outside of India in a different
nation. Moreover, the person must have either their parents or grandparents who
were born in India. This proves that you have ancestry in Indian Territory.
Under these conditions, the person must go through a formal registration
procedure in order to become a citizen. The Indian diplomatic or consular
representation in the nation where the person is living facilitates this
procedure. These reps are employees of Indian embassies, consulates, or other
diplomatic missions overseas. The person is regarded as an Indian citizen after
the registration procedure is finished and authorized by the Indian diplomatic
or consular official. Despite the fact that they were not born in India, they
were given Indian citizenship because of their ancestry.
It declares that anybody who willingly obtained citizenship in a foreign country
would no longer be an Indian citizen. This implies that if a person who is
currently an Indian citizen chooses to get citizenship in another nation, they
will forfeit their Indian citizenship. Or to put it another way, they will lose
their Indian citizenship. Since India adheres to the idea of single citizenship,
anybody may be a citizen of India and only of India. India does not allow its
people to simultaneously hold citizenship in any other country, in contrast to
certain other nations that allow individuals to possess dual or multiple
citizenship. The Indian Constitution expresses this idea.
Even if new citizenship-related rules are passed by the Parliament, if a person
is recognized as a citizen of India under the current provisions of the
Constitution, their citizenship status will often stay untouched. This paragraph
states that even if the Parliament enacts new citizenship-related laws, the
person's citizenship status, which was attained under the previous rules, would
typically stay intact. In other words, the enactment of new citizenship rules by
the Parliament would not immediately revoke or change their status as an Indian
Based on the premise of protecting acquired rights, this principle. A person's
citizenship is normally protected against prospective changes in the law if they
legally obtained it based on the regulations in effect at the time.
When it comes to passing legislation pertaining to citizenship, it gives the
Indian Parliament broad power. It claims that nothing may limit or forbid the
Parliament from enacting laws governing the loss or gain of citizenship and
other issues related to citizenship. The Indian Parliament is free to pass
legislation pertaining to citizenship without being constrained by the
Constitution. When it comes to enacting laws on citizenship, the Parliament has
The Parliament has the ability to resolve any issue
related to citizenship, in addition to the capacity to set laws for obtaining or
losing citizenship. This might include a range of topics, including citizen
rights and obligations, paperwork and registration procedures, dual citizenship
difficulties, and more.
Citizenship Act, 1955
The Citizenship Act of 1955 is a thorough piece of law in India that controls
how citizenship is acquired, lost, and other connected issues. It has undergone
several revisions to take into account shifting sociopolitical conditions and
resolve difficulties with citizenship.
Over the years, the Citizenship Act of 1955 has undergone a number of revisions
to suit shifting conditions and developing legal needs. The Act's essential
provisions are shown below, along with some noteworthy amendments:
The Citizenship Act of 1955 is a law that governs how Indian citizenship is
acquired and determined.
- Section 2 defines a number of words and citizenship-related categories.
- Section 3 defines citizenship based on birth.
- Section 4 addresses citizenship based on ancestry.
- Section 5 describes registration-based citizenship.
- Section 6 addresses citizenship acquired via naturalization.
- Section 7 deals with giving up citizenship.
- Section 8: Deals with the loss of citizenship.
- Section 9 addresses citizenship denial.
- Section 10 discusses the maintenance of citizenship rights.
- Section 11: Specifies the process for a minor to become a citizen.
- Section 18 deals with the authority to enact laws.
- The Citizenship (Amendment) Act of 1986: Introduced revisions to address problems with illegal immigration and foreign nationals.
- The Citizenship (Amendment) Act of 2003 clarified several of the Act's provisions.
- The Citizenship (Amendment) Act of 2005: Added notions of Overseas Citizenship of India (OCI) and Persons of Indian Origin (PIO), among other major modifications.
- The PIO and OCI programmes were combined by the Citizenship (Amendment) Act of 2015.
- The Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2019: Made adjustments to the naturalization residence requirement.
Termination of citizenship:
- Acquisition of citizenship under Citizenship Act 1955
According to the terms of the Citizenship Act of 1955, citizenship in
India may be obtained in a variety of ways. The three main methods for
obtaining citizenship are as follows:
- Citizenship based on birth:
- A citizen of India by birth is someone who was born in India on or after January 26, 1950, but before July 1, 1987.
- Anyone born in India on or after July 1, 1987, is regarded as an Indian citizen if at the time of their birth, either of their parents was an Indian citizen.
- Citizenship based on Ancestry:
- Section 4 of the Citizenship Act states, If a person's father was an Indian citizen by birth and they were born outside of India after January 26, 1950, they are regarded as Indian citizens by descent.
- If either parent was an Indian citizen by birth and the child was born outside of India between December 10, 1992, and December 3, 2004, the child will be an Indian citizen by descent.
- For a person born outside of India after December 3, 2004, their parents must certify that the child does not possess a passport from another country, and the child's birth must be registered at an Indian consulate within a year of the child's birth in order for the child to become an Indian citizen.
- A minor covered by this clause who is also a citizen of another nation must renounce that citizenship within six months, in addition.
- Registration as a Citizen:
- Foreign persons of excellent moral character who have resided in India for a certain amount of time, including children, may register to seek for Indian citizenship. For eligibility, a number of requirements must be satisfied. In line with The Citizenship Act's Section 5.
- A person of Indian descent who applied for registration after residing in India for seven years.
- Any person of Indian ancestry who lives outside of India's unbroken boundaries.
- A person who has lived in India for seven years and is married to an Indian citizen before applying for registration.
- Minors who are descendants of people with Indian citizenship.
- Naturalization for Citizenship:
- Foreign persons with strong moral character who have lived in India for at least 5 years (after the Citizenship Act of 2019) or 12 years (before to it) may apply for Indian citizenship via naturalization. According to the Citizenship Act's Section 6:
- The Central Government will provide a certificate of naturalization to a person who has achieved full legal age or ability and who seeks for one, if it is satisfied that all the requirements have been fulfilled.
- A person who has been granted a certificate of citizenship via naturalization must take an oath in accordance with the Third Schedule's instructions.
- Citizenship by Territory Incorporation:
- The Central Government may designate the people who would become Indian citizens as a consequence of any land becoming a part of India.
- Indian Citizenship Abroad:
- The term "Overseas Citizenship of India" (OCI) refers to the permission given to foreigners of Indian ancestry, enabling them to move and work within the boundaries of the Republic of India. The purpose of creating this distinction was to make dual citizenship easier.
- The Citizenship (Amendment) Act of 2005 introduced the OCI status, which has limits in addition to extending some rights. OCI holders are entitled to the following privileges:
- They are not allowed to use their voting privileges.
- They are not qualified to serve in constitutional roles.
- They are not allowed to purchase agricultural properties.
- PIO Card: Person of Indian Origin:
- To provide specific privileges to overseas people of Indian descent, the PIO card was first established.
In India, citizenship may be revoked in a number of ways, such as by
renunciation, termination, or deprivation.
The breakdown of these ideas is as
Citizenship amendment act 2019
- Citizenship renunciation:
Renunciation is the voluntary renunciation of Indian citizenship. Renunciation of Indian citizenship is an option for those who get citizenship in another nation and decide they no longer want to keep their Indian citizenship. Formal applications, documentation, and a statement of desire to renounce Indian citizenship are normally required for this procedure.
- Termination of Citizenship:
The process of removing a person's citizenship status is referred to as termination of citizenship. If it is found that the person earned citizenship through fraud, misrepresentation, or information concealment, this may occur via judicial processes. If these details are discovered, the government may start legal action to revoke the person's citizenship.
- Deprivation of Citizenship:
In a deprivation of citizenship, the government revokes a person's citizenship for a specified cause, often connected to actions that are detrimental to the national interest, national security, or loyalty. Deprivation often requires a judicial procedure and conformity to recognized natural justice norms.
The Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) is a piece of legislation that was passed in
India in December 2019.
The journey of the Citizenship Amendment Bill (CAA) began in 2016 when it was
introduced in the Lok Sabha, seeking to amend the Citizenship Act of 1955. This
proposal was subsequently referred to a Joint Parliamentary Committee, whose
report was presented on January 7, 2019. Following this, on January 8, 2019, the
Lok Sabha approved the Citizenship Amendment Bill. However, due to the
dissolution of the 16th Lok Sabha, this bill lapsed.
The CAA Bill was reintroduced on December 9, 2019, in the 17th Lok Sabha by the
Minister of Home Affairs, Amit Shah. It was successfully passed on December 10,
2019, in the Lok Sabha and later received approval from the Rajya Sabha on
The CAA aims to provide a path to Indian citizenship for religious minorities
from neighboring countries who have faced persecution on the grounds of
religion. The countries specifically mentioned in the CAA are Afghanistan,
Bangladesh, and Pakistan.
Under the CAA, Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, Parsi, and Christian immigrants from
these three countries who entered India before December 31, 2014, and have lived
there for at least five years are eligible for fast-track Indian citizenship.
This provision is not applicable to Muslim immigrants from these countries
The eligibility criteria outlined that an individual should have resided in
India for the past 12 months and a minimum of 11 out of the preceding 14 years.
Notably, the duration of residency for the specific category of undocumented
migrants was reduced from 11 years to five years.
In conclusion, the Citizenship Act of 1955 and its following changes control the
intricate legal notion of citizenship in India. The statute offers many ways for
people to become citizens, including birth, descent, registration, and
naturalization. The idea of single citizenship emphasizes the fact that a person
may only have one citizenship at a time, namely Indian citizenship.
The statute handles renunciation, termination, and denial of citizenship as well
as procedures for obtaining citizenship. Over time, adjustments have been made
to citizenship legislation to reflect evolving conditions and to provide
protections for Indian-origin citizens living abroad.
The act demonstrates the nation's dedication to defining and governing
citizenship in a way that balances each person's rights and obligations with the
integrity of the country's sovereignty. As with any legal issue, a thorough
grasp of Indian citizenship
necessitates consultation with legal authorities who are knowledgeable with the
most recent changes and developments as well as official government sources.