Citizenship – By Isha
The Constitution provides for single and uniform citizenship for the whole of India. In federal States like USA and Switzerland, there is a dual citizenship, viz., the federal or national citizenship and the citizenship of the State where a person is born or permanently resides. Central Government has exclusive jurisdiction to determine the question of citizenship. Any state Government or court has no power in this regard.
The population is divided into two classes – citizens and non-citizens. Non-citizens do not enjoy all rights guaranteed by the Constitution. Indian citizens exclusively possess the following rights.
The fundamental rights.
Privileges to Officers such as those of the President (Article 58); Vice President (Article 66); Judge of the Supreme Court ( Article 124) or a High Court ( Article 217); Attorney General ( Article 76); Governor ( Article 157).
The right to vote (Article 326) ; the right to become a member of Parliament ( Article 84) and State Legislature ( Article 191).
The non-citizens are deprived from such rights.
The Citizenship Act, 1955, provides for the acquisition of citizenship in the following ways:
Every person born in India on or after January 1959,but before July, 1987; and those born on or after July, 1987 but before the commencement of the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2003 and also those born on or after the commencement of the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2003 shall be a citizen of India by birth. Citizenship by birth can be acquired by such persons only if either of his parents is a citizen of India at the time of birth.
A person who was born outside India on or after January 26, 1950 but before commencement of the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 1992 shall be a citizen of India by descent, if his father is a citizen of India at the time of the person’s birth or on or after such commencement if either of his parents is a citizen of India at the time of his birth.
A person can get Indian Citizenship by registering himself to that effect, if he belongs to any of the following categories –
Persons of Indian origin who are ordinarily resident in India for seven years immediately before making an application for registration.
Persons of Indian origin who are ordinarily resident in any country or place outside undivided India.
Persons who are married to Indian citizens and ordinary resident in India and such persons must have been resident for seven years before making such an application.
Minor children of persons who are Indian citizens.
Citizenship can also be acquired by naturalisation. The qualifications for naturalisation are:
The person must not belong to a country where Indian citizens are prevented from becoming citizens by naturalisation.
The person must either be resided in India or should have been in Government service for 12 months before making an application specified under Third Schedule of the Citizenship Act, 1955.
If any new territory becomes a part of India, the person’s of the territory become citizens of India.
The Citizenship Act, 1955 also lays down the following ways in which citizenship of India may be lost:
If a citizen renounces citizenship.
If a citizen of India voluntarily acquires citizenship of another country.
If Indian citizenship had been acquired by fraud or if an Indian citizen has shown himself to be disloyal and disaffected towards the Constitution of India.
The Citizenship Amendment Act of 2003 provides for the Dual Citizenship for the people of Indian origin in 16 specified countries. The Citizenship Amendment Act of 2005 recognises the Overseas Citizenship and provides for their registration in India.