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Citizenship of India, Articles, Acquisition & Loss of Citizenship

Citizenship Meaning

Citizenship can be defined as the full and equal membership of a political community in a country. In the modern world, nations grant their citizens certain rights as well as a collective political identity. Citizens, enjoy all political as well as civil rights which have been ensured to them by the Indian Constitution as well as the government.

Read More: Fundamental Rights of Indian Constitution

Citizenship for Indians

The Indian Constitution is federal and envisages a dual polity (Centre and states), however, it provides only for single citizenship i.e., Indian Citizenship. Indian citizens owe allegiance only to the Union. Unlike federal countries like the USA and Switzerland, there is no separate state citizenship in India. India has two kinds of citizens, friendly citizens and alien citizens. Alien citizens can be categorized as,

Friendly Alien Enemy Alien
The citizens of those nations that have friendly relations with India are friendly aliens. The country is at war with India its citizens as enemy aliens. Compared to friendly aliens, they are granted fewer rights.

Residents also owe duties to the Indian State, such as paying taxes, upholding the flag and national anthem, and defending the country. The Constitution only grants the following benefits and rights to Indian citizens.

Read about: Salient Features of Constitution of India

Citizenship in Indian Constitution

Citizenship is covered in Part II of the Indian Constitution. It does not, however, offer any comprehensive or robust citizenship protections or status. However, the following four groups of people became citizens of India on January 26, 1950.

Categories of Persons Conditions
Domicile of India
  • An individual born in India; or
  • Parents (mother or father) are born in India; or
  • Individuals who is residents in India for five years immediately before the commencement of the Constitution became a citizen of India.

Person who migrated to India from Pakistan

  • When an individual migrated to India before July 19, 1948, he had been ordinarily resident in India since the date of his migration; or
  • An Individual who immigrated to India on or after July 19, 1948, was officially recognised as an Indian citizen. However, in order to be so registered, a person is required to have lived in India for six months prior to the date of their registration application.

Person who has migrated to Pakistan from India

Whether before or after the Constitution’s commencement, the diplomatic or consular representation of India in the nation where he resides has registered him as a citizen of India.

Overseas Indians

He had to have lived in India for six months prior to the date of his registration application in order to qualify for this.

Read More: Jammu and Kashmir

Citizenship Articles in Constitution of India

Article 5

Individual who had his domicile in India and also fulfilled one of the three conditions; first, if an individual was born in India; second, if his mother or father was born in India; third, if he had lived in India for five years prior to the Constitution’s adopted, became a citizen of India.

Article 6

Upon arriving in India from Pakistan, a person who met either of the two requirements and was born in undivided India, along with any of his parents or any of his grandparents, became a citizen of India;

First, if he arrived in India prior to July 19, 1948, he had lived there continuously since; second, if he arrived on or after July 19, 1948, he had been recognised as an Indian citizen. However, in order to be so registered, a person must have spent six months prior to the date of their registration application physically residing in India.

Read More: Constituent Assembly of India

Article 7

A person who left India for Pakistan after March 1, 1947, and later went back for resettlement may be able to obtain Indian citizenship. He was required to have lived in India for six months prior to the date of his registration application for this.

Article 8

A person who was born in undivided India, or whose parents or grandparents were born there, but who resides outside of India on a regular basis, becomes an Indian citizen if the diplomatic or consular representative of India in the nation where he resides registers him as such, whether before or after the Constitution’s start date. This clause, therefore, applies to any Indians living abroad who wish to become citizens of India.

Article 9

No one who willingly accepted the citizenship of any foreign state shall be considered an Indian citizen or be considered to be an Indian.

Article 10

Every person who is or is regarded to be an Indian citizen must remain an Indian citizen, despite any laws passed by Parliament.

Article 11

With regard to citizenship acquisition, renunciation, and any other issues related to citizenship, Parliament has the authority to adopt any provisions. In order to do this, Parliament passed the Citizenship Act of 1955, a comprehensive law governing citizenship, 1955.

Read More: Article 370

Citizenship Acquisition Under Citizenship Act 1955

The Citizenship Act of 1955 regulates the acquisition and loss of citizenship following the Constitution’s inception. The following Acts have altered this Act numerous times; The Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 1986, The Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 1992, The Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2003, The Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2005, The Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2015.

Acquisition of Citizenship Conditions
A citizen of India by Birth
  • Born in India between 26 January 1950 to 1st July 1987
  • Born between 1st July 1987 and 2nd Dec 2004 and either of his parents needs to be an Indian citizen at the time of his birth.
  • Born between 1st July 1987 and 2nd Dec 2004 and both his/her parents need to be Indian citizens at the time of his birth.
A citizen of India by Descent
  • Born outside India on or after 26th Jan 1950 but his father was Indian Citizen
  • Born outside India between 1st July 1987 and 2nd Dec 2004 but either of his parents is an Indian Citizen.
  • If born after 2nd Dec 2004 has to acquire citizenship, and parents need to declare that child doesn’t hold a foreign passport and is registered at the Indian consulate.
A citizen of India by Registration
  • Individual resided in India for 7 years prior to he applied for registration.
  • Married to an Indian citizen before applying for citizenship
  • The individual resided in a country outside of undivided India.
  • Minor children of individuals who are citizens of India.
Citizenship by Naturalisation
  • If a resident of India for 12 years and checks all requirements mentioned in the Citizenship act.
  • The act restricts dual citizenship.
A citizen of India by Incorporation of a Territory
  • If India acquires a foreign territory the country residing in the territory automatically becomes India’s citizen

E.g.  As India acquired Pondicherry in 1962

Read More: Reorganisation of States

Loss of Citizenship Under Citizenship Act 1955

By Renunciation

Loss of citizenship occurs when any citizen of India of full age and capacity makes a declaration renouncing his/her citizenship. After this declaration is registered the person ceases to be a citizen of India. Also, when a person renounces his citizenship every minor child of that person loses Indian citizenship. However, when that child reaches the age of 18, he/she can apply to resume his/her citizenship.

By Termination

If a person consciously acquires citizenship of another country, then his Indian Citizenship will be automatically terminated. The provision, nevertheless, does not apply during a war in which India is engaged.

By Deprivation

Central Government can terminate a person’s Indian citizenship under the following conditions:

  • Fraud: If a person has obtained Indian citizenship through fraud.
  • Disloyalty to the Constitution: Citizens have shown disloyalty to the constitution.
  • Connection with the enemy: If a citizen has unlawfully traded or communicated with the enemy during a war.
  • Imprisonment of Naturalised Citizen: If a person has acquired Indian citizenship through naturalisation, and within 5 years after registration or naturalisation of citizenship, has been imprisoned in any country for more than 2 years.
  • Ordinary Resident: If the citizen has been ordinarily resident out of India for seven years continuously.

Read More: Preamble of Indian Constitution

Citizenship Rights in India

There are various rights provided to Indian Citizens in the Constitution of India:

Articles Explanations
Article 15 Citizens of India have the Right against discrimination on grounds of religion, race, caste, sex or place of birth.
Article 16 Citizens of India’s Right to equality of opportunity in the matter of public employment.
Article 19 Citizens of India Right to freedom of speech and expression, assembly, association, movement, residence and profession.
Articles 29 – 30 Citizens have Cultural rights and educational rights
Right to Vote In the Lok Sabha and state legislative assembly elections.
Right to Contest Election For the membership of the Parliament and the state legislature.

Note: In the USA only a citizen by birth is deemed to be eligible for being elected as the President of the USA, whereas in India both the citizen by birth or by naturalisation can contest for the election of the President or any other public posts.

Read More: Important Articles of Indian Constitution


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What is Citizenship?

It is a legal status provided to an individual living in a country by ensuring them rights.

Does India allow dual citizenship?

Indian does not permit dual citizenship for its citizens.

By how many ways one can acquire the citizenship of India?

One can acquire the Indian Citizenship by 5 ways as, by birth, descent, naturalisation, registration, and incorporation of a territory.

By how many ways one can lose the citizenship of India?

One can lose the Indian Citizenship by 3 ways, by renunciation, termination and deprivation.

Which article empowers the Parliament to make laws on Citizenship?

Article 11 of the constitution empowers the Parliament to make laws on citizenship.

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