Citizenship in the Indian Constitution
India is a secular, democratic nation-state. The Indian constitution provides full citizenship to all groups irrespective of what they belong to. The women, people from SC and ST, and remote communities from the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, who previously did not enjoy equal rights were given full citizenship rights.
The provisions about citizenship were found in Part II. By passing subsequent laws in the parliament, citizenship can be acquired by Birth, descent, registration, naturalisation or inclusion of territory.
Also, there are provisions that the state should not discriminate against citizens on grounds of race, sex, place of birth, caste etc. The rights of religious and linguistic minorities are also protected.
- The word ‘Citizen’ is derived from the Latin term ‘Civis’, which means a resident of a city-state.
- The Constitution of India provides for a single and uniform citizenship for the whole of India.
- Articles 5 to 11 under part II of the constitution deal with citizenship.
Citizenship Act of 1955
- The Citizenship Act of 1955 provides for the acquisition and loss of citizenship after the commencement of the constitution.
- The Citizenship Act has been amended eight times so far.
- Originally, the Citizenship Act (1955) also provided for commonwealth citizenship.
- But this provision was repealed by the Citizenship (Amendment) Act 2003.
Acquisition of Citizenship
- The Citizenship Act of 1955 prescribes five ways of acquiring citizenship, such as birth, descent, registration, naturalization and incorporation of territory.
- According to the Citizenship Act 1955, citizenship could be acquired through any of the following methods:
- By Birth: All persons born in India on or after January 26, 1950, are treated as citizens by birth.
- By Descent: A person born outside India on or after January 26, 1950, shall be a citizen of India by descent if his father is a citizen of India at the time of his birth.
- By Registration: A person can acquire citizenship in India by registration with the appropriate authority.
- By Naturalization: A foreigner can acquire citizenship of India on application for naturalization to the Governor of India.
- By Incorporation of Territory: In the event of a certain territory being added to the territory of India, the Government of India shall specify the persons of that territory who shall be citizens of India.
Loss of Citizenship
- The Citizenship Act of 1955 prescribes three ways of losing citizenship whether acquired under the Act or prior to it under the Constitution viz, renunciation, termination and deprivation.
- It can be voluntarily renounced by a citizen.
- It can be terminated if a person acquires the citizenship of some other country.
- The central government can deprive a naturalized citizen if it is satisfied that the citizenship was acquired by fraud, false representation or concealment of material facts or indulges in trade with enemy countries or if the person has been sentenced to imprisonment for a period of 2 years.
India adopted a system of single citizenship. There is no separate citizenship for states. All the people, irrespective of the state in which they are born or reside enjoy the same rights throughout India.
On the other hand, some federal states such as the US, Switzerland and Australia have dual citizenship. That is one is national citizenship and the other is state citizenship.
Facts about the Citizenship of India
- A foreigner will have no political rights but will have legal obligations and protection.
This article is written for the Tnpsc on the topic “Citizenship”. This post covers What is Citizenship, How it is acquired in India and How one loses their citizenship in India. Also covers the Articles in the Indian constitution that deal with Citizenship in India.