- Part II of the Constitution of India (Articles 5-11) deals with the Citizenship of India. Article 5 speaks about the citizenship of India at the commencement of the Constitution (Nov 26, 1949). Article 11 gave powers to the Parliament of India to regulate the right of citizenship by law. Thus Citizenship Act 1955 was enacted by the Parliament.
- It is an act to provide for the acquisition and termination of Indian citizenship and the same acts speak about the citizenship of India after the commencement of the Constitution.
Article 5: Citizenship at the commencement of the Constitution
At the commencement of this Constitution, every person who has his domicile in the territory of India and –
(a) who was born in the territory of India; or
(b) either of whose parents was born in the territory of India; or
(c) who has been ordinarily resident in the territory of India for not less than five years immediately preceding such commencement, shall be a citizen of India.
Article 6: Rights of citizenship of certain persons who have migrated to India from Pakistan.
Notwithstanding anything in article 5, a person who has migrated to the territory of India from the territory now included in Pakistan shall be deemed to be a citizen of India at the commencement of this Constitution if –
(a) he or either of his parents or any of his grand-parents was born in India as defined in the Government of India Act, 1935 (as originally enacted); and
(b)(i) in the case where such person has so migrated before the nineteenth day of July 1948, he has been ordinarily resident in the territory of India since the date of his migration, or
(ii) in the case where such person has so migrated on or after the nineteenth day of July 1948, he has been registered as a citizen of India by an officer appointed in that behalf by the Government of the Dominion of India on an application made by him therefor to such officer before the commencement of this Constitution in the form and manner prescribed by that Government:
Provided that no person shall be so registered unless he has been resident in the territory of India for at least six months immediately preceding the date of his application.
Article 7: Rights of citizenship of certain migrants to Pakistan
Notwithstanding anything in articles 5 and 6, a person who has after the first day of March 1947, migrated from the territory of India to the territory now included in Pakistan shall not be deemed to be a citizen of India.
Provided that nothing in this article shall apply to a person who, after having so migrated to the territory now included in Pakistan, has returned to the territory of India under a permit for resettlement or permanent return issued by or under the authority of any law and every such person shall for the purposes of clause (b) of Article 6 be deemed to have migrated to the territory of India after the nineteenth day of July 1948.
Article 8: Rights of citizenship of certain persons of Indian origin residing outside India
Notwithstanding anything in article 5, any person who or either of whose parents or any of whose grandparents was born in India as defined in the Government of India Act, 1935 (as originally enacted), and who is ordinarily residing in any country outside India as so defined shall be deemed to be a citizen of India if he has been registered as a citizen of India by the diplomatic or consular representative of India in the country where he is for the time being residing on an application made by him therefor to such diplomatic or consular representative, whether before or after the commencement of this Constitution, in the form and manner prescribed by the Government of the Dominion of India or the Government of India.
- To sum up, these provisions deal with the citizenship of
- Persons domiciled in India;
- Persons migrated from Pakistan;
- Persons migrated to Pakistan but later returned; and
- Persons of Indian origin residing outside India.
Article 9: Persons voluntarily acquiring citizenship of a foreign State not to be citizens
No person shall be a citizen of India by virtue of article 5 or be deemed to be a citizen of India by virtue of article 6 or article 8 if he has voluntarily acquired the citizenship of any foreign State.
- Article 9 of the Indian Constitution says that a person who voluntarily acquires citizenship of any other country is no longer an Indian citizen. Also, according to The Passports Act, a person has to surrender his Indian passport if he acquires citizenship of another country; it is a punishable offense under the act if he fails to surrender the passport.
- Indian nationality law largely follows the jus sanguinis (citizenship by right of blood) as opposed to the jus soli (citizenship by right of birth within the territory).
- The President of India is termed the first Citizen of India.
- Section 9(2) of the Citizenship Act, 1955 gives the central government exclusive jurisdiction to decide the question of whether a person, who was a citizen of India, has lost that citizenship by acquiring the citizenship of a foreign state.
Article 10: Continuance of the rights of citizenship
Every person who is or is deemed to be a citizen of India under any of the foregoing provisions of this Part shall, subject to the provisions of any law that may be made by Parliament, continue to be such citizen.
Article 11: Parliament to regulate the right of citizenship by law
Nothing in the foregoing provisions of this Part shall derogate from the power of Parliament to make any provision with respect to the acquisition and termination of citizenship and all other matters relating to citizenship.
- The Constitution confers the following rights and privileges on the citizens of India (and denies the same to aliens):
- Right against discrimination on grounds of religion, race, caste, sex, or place of birth (Article 15).
- Right to equality of opportunity in the matter of public employment (Article 16).
- Right to freedom of speech and expression, assembly, association, movement, residence, and profession (Article 19).
- Cultural and educational rights (Articles 29 and 30).
- Right to vote in elections to the Lok Sabha and State Legislative Assembly.
- Right to contest for the membership of the Parliament and the state legislature.
- Eligibility to hold certain public offices, that is, President of India, Vice- President of India, judges of the Supreme Court and the high courts, governor of states, attorney general of India and advocate general of states.
- Along with the above rights, the citizens also owe certain duties towards the Indian State, as for example, paying taxes, respecting the national flag and national anthem, defending the country, and so on.
- In India, both citizens by birth as well as a naturalised citizen are eligible for the office of President while in USA, only a citizen by birth and not a naturalised citizen is eligible for the office of President.