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What is the Definition of Citizenship:


  • The term “citizenship” refers to the individual’s relationship with the state.
  • India, like any other contemporary state, has two types of citizens: citizens and aliens. Citizens are full members of the Indian State and are bound by its laws.
  • They are free to exercise their civil and political rights.
  • Citizenship is an exclusionary concept since it excludes non-citizens.


Citizenship is granted according to two well-known principles:


  • ‘Jus soli’ awards citizenship based on place of birth, whereas ‘jus sanguinis’ recognizes blood links.
  • The Indian leadership has supported the enlightened notion of jus soli since the Motilal Nehru Committee (1928).
  • The Constituent Assembly also rejected the racial concept of jus sanguinis, which was incompatible with the Indian ethos.


Provisions of the Constitution:


  • Citizenship is listed in the Constitution’s Union List and hence falls within Parliament’s sole control.
  • Part 2 of the Constitution does not define the term “citizen,” although it does list the various kinds of people who are eligible for citizenship (Articles 5 to 11).
  • Unlike other parts of the Constitution, which took effect on January 26, 1950, these articles were put into effect on November 26, 1949, the day the Constitution was signed.
  • Article 5: It established citizenship at the start of the Constitution.
  • Citizenship was granted to all persons who were born and raised in India.
  • Even people who were domiciled in India but not born there, yet had one of their parents born there, were considered citizens.
  • Anyone who had lived in the United States for more than five years was also eligible to seek for citizenship.


Article 6 of the Indian Constitution:


  • It gave citizenship rights to certain people who had migrated to India from Pakistan.
  • Because Partition and migration before Independence, Article 6 stipulated that anyone who migrated to India before July 19, 1949, became an Indian citizen automatically if one of his parents or ancestors were born in India.
  • Those who arrived in India after this date, however, were required to register.


Article 7 of the Indian Constitution:


  • Provided citizenship rights to selected Pakistani migrants.
  • Those who moved to Pakistan after March 1, 1947 and then returned on resettlement permits were covered by the citizenship net.
  • The law was more sympathetic to individuals who relocated from Pakistan and were designated as refugees than to those who were stranded in Pakistan or who went there but planned to return shortly.


Article 8 of the Indian Constitution:


  • Certain persons of Indian ancestry who live outside India are granted citizenship rights.
  • Any Person of Indian Origin residing outside of India who was born in India, or either of his or her parents or grandparents, might register as an Indian citizen with the Indian Diplomatic Mission.


Article 9 of the Indian Constitution:


  • Declares that anyone who willingly acquires citizenship of another country is no longer a citizen of India.


Article 10 of the Indian Constitution:


  • It states that “any person who is or is deemed to be a citizen of India by any of the foregoing provisions of this Part shall continue to be such citizen, subject to the requirements of any law adopted by Parliament.”


Article 11 of the Indian Constitution:


  • It gives Parliament the authority to establish any provision regarding the acquisition and termination of citizenship, as well as all related subjects.
  • Amendments to Acts
  • The Citizenship Act of 1955 governs the process of acquiring and determining Indian citizenship.


The Process of Obtaining and Determining Indian Citizenship:


  • Citizenship in India can be obtained in four ways: birth, descent, registration, and naturalization. The Citizenship Act of 1955 contains the relevant provisions.
  • By Birth: Anyone born in India on or after 26.01.1950 but before 01.07.1987 is an Indian citizen, regardless of his or her parents’ nationality.
  • Every person born in India between July 1, 1987, and December 2, 2004, is a citizen of the country if either of his or her parents was a citizen at the time of his or her birth.
  • If both parents are Indian citizens or at least one parent is a citizen and the other is not an illegal migrant at the time of birth, a person born in India on or after 3.12.2004 is a citizen of the country.
  • Citizenship can be obtained by registration as well. The following are some of the mandatory rules:
  • A person of Indian ancestry who has lived in India for at least seven years before filing for registration.
  • A person of Indian ancestry who lives in a nation other than India’s undivided states.
  • A person who is married to an Indian citizen and has lived in India for at least seven years prior to registering.
  • Children under the age of 18 who are Indian citizens.

By Descent: If a person is born outside India on or after January 26, 1950, he or she is a citizen of India by descent if his or her father was born in India.

  • If either of his or her parents was an Indian citizen by birth, he or she was born outside India on or after December 10, 1992, but before December 3, 2004.
  • If a person born outside India or after December 3, 2004 wants to become a citizen, his or her parents must state that the minor does not have a passport from another country and that his or her birth was registered at an Indian consulate within a year of birth.

By Naturalization: A person can obtain citizenship by naturalization if he or she has been a regular resident of India for 12 years (during the 12 months preceding the date of application and 11 years in total) and meets all of the requirements listed in the Citizenship Act’s third schedule.

  • Dual citizenship or dual nationality are not permitted under the Act. Citizenship is only granted to those who meet the criteria outlined above, i.e., via birth, descent, registration, or naturalization.
  • In 1986, 2003, 2005, and 2015, the statute was amended four times.
  • Parliament has reduced the broader and universal notions of citizenship based on birth through these amendments.
  • Furthermore, the Foreigners Act imposes a significant burden on the individual to demonstrate that he or she is not a foreigner.

Amendment of 1986: The 1986 change to Section 3 was less broad than the constitutional clause and the original Citizenship Act, which conferred citizenship to everyone born in India on the basis of jus soli.

  • The amendment introduced the requirement that people born in India on or after January 26, 1950, but before July 1, 1987, be citizens of India.
  • Citizenship is only available to those born after July 1, 1987, and before December 4, 2003, if either of their parents was an Indian citizen at the time of their birth.
  • The aforementioned criteria was made more strict by a 2003 amendment, which was adopted in response to infiltration from Bangladesh.
  • For people born on or after December 4, 2004, the legislation now stipulates that, in addition to their own birth, both parents must be Indian citizens, or one parent must be an Indian citizen and the other must not be an illegal migrant.
  • With these restricted revisions, India is on the verge of adopting the narrow jus sanguinis (blood relationship) basis.
  • This states that even if an illegal migrant has been in India for seven years, he cannot claim citizenship by naturalization or registration.
  • The Citizenship (Amendment) Bill 2019 is a bill that amends the Citizenship Act of 1965. Members of six communities from Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Afghanistan – Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis, and Christians — would be allowed to stay in India if they arrived before December 14, 2014.
  • It also cuts the citizenship requirement from 11 to just 6 years.
  • These migrants were also exempted from the Passport Act and the Foreigners Act, according to two notifications.
  • A vast number of Assamese organizations opposed the bill because it could provide citizenship to Bangladeshi Hindu illegal migrants.
  • The bill’s justification is that Hindus and Buddhists are minorities in Bangladesh and went to India to escape religious persecution, whereas Muslims are the majority in Bangladesh and cannot be claimed to be in the same boat.

Source: THE HINDU.