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Citizenship And Rights Of Citizen Of India

After 3 June 1947 when lord Mountbatten announced his intention to scrap the cabinet mission plan and introduced "Indian Independence act 1947", it was decided that British India will be divided in two nations i.e. India and Pakistan. Now there was a big question that what will be our country's boundary?

And who Will be the citizen of India? It was because of one reason that a lot of people from Pakistan to India and India to Pakistan after the division of India. This question of citizenship has been dealt by our leaders during forming of constitution of India. They provided part II of the constitution which describes the eligibility of citizen of India on 26-01-1947.

Whenever We Discuss About Population Of Our Country Or About People Of India In Our Constitution, We Use These Terms:

  1. Person
  2. Citizens
  3. Minorities

These 3 Terms In Reference To People Of India, Are Used In Our Constitution:

  1. Person:
    All basic rights for equality are given to all persons in India under Article 14.
  2. Citizenship:
    But right against discrimination was given only to the citizen Of India in article 15. It means rights against article 14 and 15 are given to only citizen of India, while right against article 14 are given to all persons of India of India who is residing Here.
  3. Minorities:
    Some specific rights which are defined in article 29 are given Only to minorities in India; in addition of other rights under Article 14 and 15.

Meaning And Significance
Citizen of a country is a full member of the state who owes allegiance to the state. A citizen has certain duties towards the state which he/she has to fulfill. Citizens of a country enjoys certain rights which are not enjoyed by aliens of a country. There are two types of aliens:

  1. Friendly aliens
  2. Enemy aliens.

Friendly aliens are those which have good relations with a country and enemy aliens are those, who have bad relations with a country or at war with a country. These people enjoy less rights than friendly aliens. For example:- In India, friendly aliens have right of protection against arrest and detention. While enemy aliens do not have this right.

Constitutional Provision

Constitution Dealt With The Matter Of Citizenship Is Two Ways:

  • From Commencement Of Constitution I.E., Citizenship On 26-01-1950.
  • Citizenship Rules And Procedures After 26-01-1950.

The first way i.e., who will be the citizen of India has been dealt in part II Of the constitution.

Part II of constitution tells us that who qualified as a citizen of India on 26-01-1950.

While the other way is dealt in citizenship amendment act 1955, which was created under provisions of article 11 of the constitution.

Part II of the constitution deals with the provisions which decide who will be the citizen of India from 26- 01- 1950.

Citizenship amendment act 1955 deals with the acquisition and termination of citizenship after 26- 01- 1950. This act was passed by parliament in 1955 by using the provision of article 11 of constitution.

Part II of the constitution discuss the matters of citizenship of India under article 5-11. This part-II of constitution broadly classified the 4 categories only. The person who falls under categories might be the citizen of India from 26-01-1950.

  1. Person domicile in India
  2. Persons who migrated from Pakistan
  3. Persons who migrated to Pakistan
  4. Person who is living abroad.

It means, our constitution only discuss citizenship under about 4 categories only. The person who falls under above categories only. The person who falls under above categories might be the citizen of India from 26-01-1950.

Articles Related To Citizenship
Article 5: Citizenship by domicile
According to this article, any person can acquire Indian citizenship, if he/she has only 2 conditions as under:

  • He/she should have a domicile in India And
  • He/she is born in India

Any of his/her parents are born in India. He/she should be residing in India for 5 years immediately before 26-01-1945. A person who fulfil any one of the needs and who is domicile of India is citizen of India[1] In Rishmi Parveen vs Union of India[2], it was held that mere residence or following a particular profession in India by the father of the girl is not conclusive for the purposes of determining his domicile.

This is a question of fact, which has to be determined in accordance with the facts and circumstances of the case that may be brought into light as the case proceeds. In Ismail vs State of Rajasthan[3], it was held that minor's domicile is that of father.

Article 6: This article discusses about those person who migrated from Pakistan to India, in two categories:

  • Before 19-7-1948 i.e. the person who had already migrated from Pakistan to India before 19-7-1948
  • After 19- 07- 1948 i.e. the persons who migrated on 19- 7-1948 and after this date from Pakistan to India.

This date i.e. 19-7-1948 was selected because on this date " permit system "was introduced in both the countries and people of both the countries may visit to either country only after getting the permit/permitted from government.

Article 7:
This article discusses the citizenship of these persons who had migrated to Pakistan from India.
It divided all people, who migrated to Pakistan after partition, into two categories:

  1. The one who migrated from India to Pakistan before 1st march 1947:
    According to article 7 all those people who had migrated to Pakistan after 1st march 1947, they are not Indian citizen.
  2. The one who migrated back from Pakistan to India after 1st march 1947:
    In this category, those people who had migrated to Pakistan after 1st march 1947, but again returned to India back.

Such type of person who had come back to India again, would be citizen of India if fulfil following conditions:

  • He/she or either of his parents/any of his grand parents were born in India.
  • He/she had returned to India under a permit for resettlement.
  • He/she had resided in India after re-migration for at atleast 6 months.
  • He/she had submitted an application for the registration to the officer.
  • He/she has been registered as a citizen by such officer.

In State of Maharashtra vs Abdul Hamid, it was held that a child acquires the nationality of a parent. When a minor migrates to Pakistan along with his father, the father does not have Indian nationality under Article 7 of the Constitution and the minor also must be taken to have acquired the nationality of the father. He/she can only obtain it through permit system[4]

Article 8:
This article discusses about those persons who are Indian origin but residing outside India i.e. all Indian persons who are residing abroad except in Pakistan.

This article tells that all person who are Indian and are residing outside India (except Pakistan) can get the citizenship of India if he fulfils the following conditions:

  • He or either or both or either or both grand parents born in undivided India i.e. British India
  • He should be registered as a citizen of India by Diplomatic/consular representative of India. It means he should be registered as citizen of India in that country where he is residing.

Article 9:
According to this, if any person acquired the citizenship of any foreign state/country, voluntarily; before 26-01-1950, he can not demand Indian Citizenship under article 5 or 6 or 8.

Article 10:
This article tells that if any person acquired Indian Citizenship under article 5 or 6,or 7or 8 then his citizenship continued continued but subject to laws passed by parliament.

Article 11:
This article gave powers to parliament to make laws on citizenship after commencement of constitution i.e. 26-01-1950.

This means parliament gained powers to make laws on citizenship after 26-01-1950 and it had also power to restrict or revoke the citizenship of those persons who had already acquired citizenship of India under article 5/6/7/8 by making laws.

Citizenship act , 1955
This act tells us the 5 methods of acquisition of citizenship of India and 3 methods of loss of citizenship of India.


  • Section 3 ( by birth):
    If you are born in India and your both the Parents are Indian or one of the parents is Indian and other one is not an illegal Immigrant then you will get citizenship by Birth in India.
  • Section 4 ( by descent):
    If anybody is born after 3rd December,2004, Outside India then he/she will get Indian Citizenship only if, under 1 year of that Child's birth their parents should go to that Country's passport .
  • Section 5 (by registration):
    This section defines some categories of People. It says that such particular Categories people if they can submit an Application to the central government Can also get the citizenship of India. The following categories of person can.

Be registered as citizen of India:

  • POI ordinarily residing in India and residing for six months immediately preceding the application for registration.
  • POI who are ordinarily resident outside undivided India.
  • Women married to Indian citizens.
  • Minor children of Indian citizen.
  • Person of full age and capacity who are citizens of common wealth countries.

A person who is a citizen of a common wealth country fall under the last clause.[5]

  • Section 6:
    (by naturalisation):
    If any person who has all those Qualification and who has Submitted an application to control An application to central Government for registration Of Indian citizenship, he may get Indian citizenship. This is called Naturalisation. The qualification Are:
    • He should not be a part of that country where Indians are prevented in that country for being citizen.
    • If he has citizenship of another country, then he has to renounce that citizenship for acquiring Indian citizenship.
    • He should be residing in India for last 12 months before date of application for acquiring Indian citizenship or should involved with service in government of India for 12 months. It is added here that if he is residing in India since in government of India, he will be qualified for Indian citizenship.
    • He should be of good character.
    • Before the period of 12 months referred above in point (c);during the period of last 14 years; he should be residing in India or performing government. He should be totally either residing in India or service in government for 11 years at least.
    • He should have the adequate knowledge of the language which is prescribed in schedule 8.
    • If he has been granted the certificate of naturalisation then he should intent to reside in India.
  • By incorporation of territory:
    This section says that if any foreign Territory becomes the part of Indian Then government of India will Specify that who will known as Indian citizens of that foreign Territory.
  • Revocation:
    • By Renunciation:
      When a citizen of India himself or herself declare To renounce his/her citizenship.
    • By Termination:
      When a citizen of India acquires citizenship of Any other country, his/her Indian citizenship Automatically gets terminated. If he/she acquires Passport of another country, then, according Citizenship rules, has obtained citizenship of that Country.[6]
    • By Deprivation:
      When the citizenship of a citizen of India gets

Terminated because he/she:

  • Has obtained citizenship by fraud [7]
  • Has shown disloyalty to constitution of India.
  • Has unlawfully traded or communicated with enemy.
  • Has been imprisoned for two years in other country after registering himself or herself as Indian citizen within five years.
  • Has been living outside India for more than seven years.[8]

Single Citizenship:
Indian constitution provides only single citizenship, that is, the Indian citizenship. The citizens of India owe allegiance only to the Union. There is no provision for separate state citizenship. The other federal state like USA and Switzerland, on the other hand, adopted the system of double citizenship.

In USA, each person is not only is a citizen of USA but also of the particular state to which he belongs. Thus, he/she has owes allegiance to both and enjoys dual sets of rights- one set conferred by the national government and another by the state government. This system has creates the problem of discrimination, that is, a state may discriminate in favour of its citizens in matters like right to vote, right to hold public offices, right to practice professions and so on. This problem has been avoided in the system of single citizenship prevalent in India.

The Constitution of India, like constitution of Canada, has introduced the system of single citizenship and provided uniform rights (except in few cases) for the people of India to promote the feeling of fraternity and unity among them and to build an integrated Indian nation. Despite all of this, India has been witnessing the communal riots, class conflicts, caste wars, linguistic clashes and ethnic disputes. Thus, the cherished goal of the founding fathers and the constitution- makers to build an united and integrated Indian nation has not been fully realised.

Overseas Citizenship of India:
In September 2000, the government of India i.e. Ministry of external affairs had set-up a high-level committee on the Indian Diaspora under the chairmanship of L.M. Singhvi. The mandate of this committee was to make a comprehensive study of the global Indian Diaspora and to recommend measures for a constructive relationship with them.

This committee submitted its report in January 2002. It was recommended the amendment of the citizenship act,1955 to provided for grant of dual citizenship to the persons of India Origin (PIOs) belonging to certain specified countries.

Accordingly, the citizenship (amendment) act,2003, made provision for acquisition of overseas citizenship of India (OCI) by the PIOs of 16 specified countries other than Pakistan and Bangladesh, it also omitted all provisions recognizing, or relating to the commonwealth citizenship from the principal act.

Later, the citizenship (amendment) act, 2005, expanded the scope of grant of OCI for PIOs of all counties except Pakistan and Bangladesh as long as their local laws. It must be noted here that the OCI is not actually a dual citizenship or dual nationality.

Again, the citizenship amendment act, 2015, has been modified the provisions pertaining to the OCI in the principal act. It has introduced a new scheme called "Overseas Citizen of India Cardholder" by mearging the PIO card scheme and the OCI card scheme.

The PIO card scheme was introduced on 19-08-2002 and after that OCI card scheme was introduced w.e.f. 01-12-2005.Both the scheme were running in parallel even though the OCI card scheme had become popular.

This was causing an unnecessary confusion in the minds of applicants. Keeping in view some problem being faced by applicants and to provide enhanced facilities to them, the government of India decided to formulate one single scheme after merging the PIO and schemes, OCI containing positive attributes of both.

Hence, to achieve this objective, the citizenship (amendment) act,2015, was enacted. The PIO scheme was repealed w.e.f. 09-01-2015 and it was also notified that all existed PIO cardholders shall be deemed to be OCI cardholders w.e.f. 09-01-2015.

Citizenship Amendment Act, 2019

The main purpose of citizenship amendment bill,2019 is to change the act of acquiring citizenship of India. This bill intended to change the definition of illegal immigrants.

The citizenship act ,1955 explains the illegal immigrants as under:

  • An illegal migrant is foreigner who:
    • Enters the country without valid travel documents.
    • Stays beyond the permitted time period.

And it is a provision that, if you are found illegal immigrant. You will be forced to leave the country as per rules.

But citizenship amendment bill,2019 changes the whole definition of this act and says that before 31st December 2014, any person who has come to India by any ways and if they are from Afghanistan, Pakistan and Bangladesh and also if they belong to these six communities- Hindus, Sikhs, Jains, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis, Christians, then now these people will not be called as illegal immigrants.

Also, now people of these community from Afghanistan, Pakistan and Bangladesh have to spend only 5 years in India in order to get citizenship by registration.

But this is the clear violation of article 14. The government answered this question by stating that they have chosen these three countries and six communities because these communities were getting persecuted in these three countries and these countries have declared themselves as Islamic state not a secular state.[9]

Rights Of Citizen Of India

  • Article 15: Right against discrimination on grounds of religion, race, caste, sex or place of birth.
  •  Article 16: Right to equality of opportunity in the matter of public employment.
  • Article 19: Right to freedom of speech and expression, assembly, association, movement, residence and profession.
  • Article 29 and 30: Cultural and educational rights
  • Right to vote in elections to the Lok Sabha ad state legislative assembly.
  • Right to contest for the membership of the parliament and the state legislature.
  • Eligibility to hold certain public offices, that is, president of India, judge of the supreme court and the high courts, governor of states, attorney general of India and advocate general of state.

It is important to define citizenship because the people who are citizens of India will get many benefits and protection under various articles of our constitution. Hence citizenship is required is required to be defined. The citizens of a country are full political members of a state whose permanent allegiance is to the state. They also enjoy various rights. A person can be given citizenship but his/her citizenship can be revoked too. Constitution of India has given power to parliament to make laws regarding citizenship under article 11.



  1. Abdul Sattar vs State of Gujrat, AIR 1965 SC 810 : (1965) 1 CriLJ 759
  2. Rishmi Parveen vs Union of India [1959] Raj LW 322
  3. Ismail vs State of Rajasthan [1959] Raj LW 299
  4. State of Maharashtra vs Abdul Hamid [1994] SCC (2) 664, JT [1994] (2) 1
  5. Ghaurul Hasan vs State of Rajasthan, AIR 1958 Raj 173
  6. Izhar Ahmad Khan vs UOI, AIR 1965 SC 1623: (1965) 2 SCR 884; State of Uttar Pradesh vs Shah Mohammad , AIR 1969 SC 1234; State of Gujrat vs Ibrahim, AIR 1974 SC 645: (1974) 1 SCC 283
  7. Ghaurul Hasan vs State of Rajasthan, AIR 1967 SC 107
  8. The Citizenship Act, 1955 ACT No. 57 OF 19551
  9. Citizenship Amendment act [2019]

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