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:
These 3 Terms In Reference To People Of India, Are Used In Our Constitution:
All basic rights for equality are given to all persons in India
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
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:
- Friendly aliens
- 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.
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
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
- Person domicile in India
- Persons who migrated from Pakistan
- Persons who migrated to Pakistan
- 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
- 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 In Rishmi Parveen vs Union
of India, 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,
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.
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:
- 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.
- 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
- 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
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
- 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.
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.
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.
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
A person who is a citizen of a common wealth country fall under the last
- Section 6:
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
- 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
- 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
- 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.
- By Deprivation:
When the citizenship of a citizen of India gets
Terminated because he/she:
- Has obtained citizenship by fraud 
- 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.
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
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
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
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
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
- 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
- Right to contest for the membership of the parliament and the state
- 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
- Abdul Sattar vs State of Gujrat, AIR 1965 SC 810 : (1965) 1 CriLJ 759
- Rishmi Parveen vs Union of India  Raj LW 322
- Ismail vs State of Rajasthan  Raj LW 299
- State of Maharashtra vs Abdul Hamid  SCC (2) 664, JT  (2) 1
- Ghaurul Hasan vs State of Rajasthan, AIR 1958 Raj 173
- 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
- Ghaurul Hasan vs State of Rajasthan, AIR 1967 SC 107
- The Citizenship Act, 1955 ACT No. 57 OF 19551
- Citizenship Amendment act