Citizenship denotes the link between a person and a state.
Acquisition of Citizenship:
A comprehensive law dealing with citizenship was passed by Parliament in 1955 which was amended in 1986. The Act provides five modes of acquiring the citizenship of India. These are:
(1) By Birth: Every person born in India on or after January 26, 1950, shall be a citizen of India by birth.
There are two exceptions: children born to foreign diplomatic personnel in India; and enemy aliens whose birth occurs in a place then under the occupation of enemy.
(2) By Descent:A person born outside India on or after January 26, 1950, shall be citizen of India by descent if his father or mother is a citizen of India at the time of his birth.
(3) By Registration:Any person who is not an Indian citizen by virtue of the provisions of the Constitution can acquire citizenship by registration if that person belongs to any one of the following five categories:
- Persons of Indian origin who are ordinarily resident in India and who have been so resident for at least 5 years immediately before making an application for registration;
- Persons of Indian origin who are ordinarily resident in any country or place outside undivided India;
- Women who are married to citizens of India;
- Minor children of persons who are citizens of India; and
- Persons of full age and capacity who are citizen of the Commonwealth countries or the Republic of Ireland.
(4) By Naturalisation:Any person who does not come under any of the categories mentioned above can acquire Indian citizenship by naturalization, if his application for the same has been acceded to by the Government of India and certificate is granted to him to that effect.An applicant for a naturalisation certificate has to satisfy the following conditions:
- He is not a citizen of a country which prohibits Indians becoming citizens of that country by natruralisation.
- He has renounced the citizenship of the country to which he belonged.
- He has either resided in India or has been in the service of a government in India, normally, for one year immediately prior to the date of application.
- During the seven years preceding the above mentioned one year, he has resided in India or been in the service of a government in India for a period amounting in the aggregate to not less than four years.
- He is of good character.
- He has an adequate knowledge of a language specified in the Constitution.
- If granted a certificate, he intends to reside in India, or continue in service under a government in India.
- The Act provides for exemption of any or all of the above conditions in favour of a person who has rendered distinguished service to the cause of science, philosophy, art, literature, world peace or human progress generally.
- Every person to whom a certificate of naturalisation is granted has to take an oath of allegiance solemnly affirming that he will bear true faith and allegiance to the Constitution of India as by law established, and that he will faithfully observe the laws of India and fulfill his duties as a citizen of India.
(5) By Incorporation of Territory: If any territory becomes part of India, the Government of India, by order, may specify that the persons connected with that territory shall be citizens of India.
Loss of Citizenship:
The Act envisages three situations under which a citizen of India may lose his/her Indian nationality. These are:
1. By Renunciation: voluntarily given up his Indian citizenship
2. By Termination: If any person has voluntarily acquired the citizenship of another country, he will cease to be a citizen of India from the date of such acquisition.
3. By Deprivation: The Constitution has empowered the Central Government to deprive a citizen of his citizenship by issuing an order under Section 10 of the Act.
· It applies only to those who have acquired the citizenship by naturalisation or by registration.
· The possible grounds for such deprivation are: Obtaining of a citizenship certificate by means of fraud, false representation, concealment of any material fact.
Citizenship law of India does not allow Dual Citizenship.
Person of Indian Origin – If, a person in spite of holding a citizenship of any foreign country, can prove his or her origin in India up to three earlier generations can be considered as Person of Indian Origin.
Overseas Citizenship of India - Person of Indian Origin, who obtained citizenship of foreign countries other than Bangladesh and Pakistan post their migration from India, are eligible to apply for Overseas Citizenship of India. This can, however, be granted if the local laws of their residing countries allow any form of dual citizenship. Overseas Citizenship of India cannot be regarded as a form of dual citizenship since; it does not grant full citizenship of the nation.