CITIZENSHIP (A1)

Part II of the Indian Constitution consists of seven Articles(5-11) that deal with the subject of Citizenship rights at the commencement of the constitution.  

CITIZENS AND ALIENS

“…..A citizen of India is someone, who is legally recognised as a member of the country, granted with all the rights provided by the State and are bound to perform his/her duties towards the country….” Aliens are the citizens of foreign countries who can enjoy only a restricted set of rights that are provided to the Citizens of India. There are two kinds of Aliens. They are the friendly aliens and the enemy aliens. Enemy aliens are the citizens of the countries that are at war with India.

CONSTITUTIONAL PROVISIONS

( Refer audio ) – Migration of people during partition of India One of the striking challenges that the constitutional makers faced in the making of the Indian Constitution was arriving at the Citizenship rights provisions. There were two major problems that had to be dealt with.  Indian independence came along with a bitter episode of partition. Citizenship rights had to be granted to people who had migrated from present-day Pakistan to the Indian territory. Also, the people who had migrated from Indian territory to Pakistan territory were to be excluded from providing with the Indian citizenship. 
  • In addition to the above classes of people, there were great numbers of people of Indian origin living in foreign countries, who had aspired to return to India and settle down here permanently, acquiring Indian citizenship. 
After limitless discussions on the subject, the constitutional makers arrived at seven articles dealing with citizenship rights.  Realising the intricacies involved in the subject matter, the constitutional makers provided plenary powers to the Parliament to make laws concerning citizenship rights.

ARTICLE 5

( A 2 )

  It clarifies on providing citizenship rights to three classes of people at the commencement of constitution on 26th January 1950.
  • People who were born and had a domicile in the territory of India;
  • People whose either of the parents was born in Indian territory;
  • People who were ordinary residents in the territory of India for at least five years immediately before the commencement of the constitution, that is, before or since 26th January 1945; were automatically provided with Indian citizenship at the commencement.
Note: ‘Territory of India’ in Article 5 refers to the Indian territory after partition. 

ARTICLE 6:

It deals with the citizenship rights at the commencement of the constitution to people who had migrated from present-day Pakistan to India after 1947.
  • He or either of his parents or any of his grandparents was born in India, as defined in Government of India Act, 1935 and had migrated to India before 19th July 1948 were automatically granted Indian Citizenship at the commencement.
Note: ‘India’ as defined in the Government of India Act (GoI ), 1935 refers to Undivided India. 
He or either of his parents or any of his grandparents was born in India, as defined in Government of India Act, 1935 and had migrated to India on or after 19th July 1948 was provided Indian citizenship on registration for citizenship with a Government authority, provided he was an ordinary resident for at least six months in India immediately preceding the application for registration.  

ARTICLE 7

 It deals with the right of citizenship to people who had migrated from India to Pakistan after 1st March 1947, but wanted to return to India with an intention of permanent settlement here.  As per the Constitution, notwithstanding the provisions of Articles 5 and 6, the persons who hadmigrated to Pakistan from India after 1st March 1947 were not eligible for Indian citizenship.  Such persons on aspiring to return to India with an intention of a permanent settlement were granted citizenship rights, had they returned after 19th July 1948 under the permit issued by the Government authority. 
Note: The Permit system under Article 7 was introduced on 19th July 1948.

ARTICLE 8

It deals with the citizenship rights of people of Indian origin who were residing in foreign countries.
  • He or either of his parents or any of his grandparents was born in India, as defined in Government of India Act, 1935 and was ordinarily residing in a foreign country, on registering himself as a citizen of India with the Indian consular or diplomatic representative in the respective foreign country, whether before or after the commencement of the constitution was granted Indian citizenship. 

ARTICLE 9

     It says that, if a citizen of India voluntarily acquires the citizenship of a foreign country, he will cease to be an Indian citizen.

ARTICLE 10

It says that, a person who is or is deemed to be a citizen of India under any of the above provisions, will continue to remain as an Indian citizen, subject to the laws made by the Parliament on rights of Citizenship.

ARTICLE 11

It gives plenary powers to the Parliament to create and amend any law that deals with citizenship rights. 
In view of the powers granted to the Parliament under Article 11 to create and amend laws that deal with Citizenship rights, the Parliament enacted the Citizenship Act of 1955. The act provided for provisions that clarified on conditions for acquisition and termination of Indian Citizenship. The act was amended since then in 1986, 1992, 2003 and 2005 to cater to the changing aspirations of the people.

ACQUISITION OF INDIAN CITIZENSHIP

The Citizenship Act of 1955 offers five ways by which a person can acquire Indian citizenship.  BY BIRTH:
  • A person born in India, on or after 26th January 1950, but before 1st July 1987 was granted Indian citizenship, irrespective of the nationalities of his parents at the time of his birth.
  • A person born in India, on or after 1st July 1987, but before 3rd December 2004 was granted Indian Citizenship if either of his parents was Indian citizen at the time of his birth.
  • A person born in India on or after 3rd December 2004 has been granted Indian citizenship, if 
  1. Both the parents are Indian Citizens or
  2. One of the parents is an Indian citizen and the other is not an illegal immigrant to India. 
Illegal immigrant: Illegal immigrants are citizens of foreign countries who live in India without valid travel documents or with valid documents, but overstay beyond the permitted duration of time.
A – 3

BY DESCENT:

  • A person born outside India on or after 26th January 1950, but before 10th December 1992 was granted the Indian citizenship by descent if his father was an Indian citizen by birth at the time of his birth. If his father was also an Indian citizen by descent, then he was not granted Indian citizenship unless his birth was registered at the Indian consulate within one year of his birth or with the permission of the central government on the expiration of one year.
  • A person born outside India on or after 10th December 1992, but before 3rd December 2004 was granted the Indian citizenship by descent if either of his parents was an Indian citizen by birth at the time of his birth. If either of his parents was also an Indian citizen by descent, then he was not granted Indian citizenship unless his birth was registered at the Indian consulate within one year of his birth or with the permission of the central government on the expiration of one year.
  • A person born outside India on or after 3rd December 2004 has not been granted the Indian citizenship until his parents declare that their minor child does not hold the passport of a foreign country and registers his birth at the Indian consulate within one year of his birth or with the permission of central government on the expiration of one year. 
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