The Citizenship Act, 1955
The Citizenship Act, 1955 came into force with effect from 30th December, 1955. It deals with matters relating to the acquisition, determination, and termination of Indian citizenship. The Act has been amended by the Citizenship (Amendment) Act 1986, the Citizenship (Amendment) Act 1992, the Citizenship (Amendment) Act 2003, and the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2005, the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2015 and the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2019.
Modes of acquiring Indian citizenship
Citizenship by birth (Sec. 3)
A Person Born in India shall be Citizen Under the Following Condition-
(i) On or after the 26th day of January 1950 but before the 1st day of July, 1987.
(ii) On or after the 1st day of July, 1987, but before 7th july 2004 and either of whose parents is a citizen of India at the time of his birth.
(iii) After 7th July 2004 where both of his parents are citizens of India or one of whose parents is a citizen of India and the other is not an illegal migrant at the time of his birth, shall be a citizen of India by birth.
A person shall not be a citizen of India by virtue of this section if at the time of his birth—
(i) Either his father or mother possesses such immunity from suits and legal process as is accorded to an envoy of a foreign sovereign power accredited to the President of India and he or she, as the case may be, is not a citizen of India.
(ii) His father or mother is an enemy alien and the birth occurs in a place then under occupation by the enemy.
Citizenship by descent (Sec. 4)
A person born outside India on or after January 26, 1950, is a citizen of India by descent if his/her father was a citizen of India by birth. A person born outside India on or after December 10, 1992, but before December 3, 2004, if either of his/her parents was a citizen of India by birth.
If a person born outside India or after December 3, 2004, has to acquire citizenship, his/her parents have to declare that the minor does not hold a passport of another country and his/her birth is registered at an Indian consulate within one year of birth.
Provided that a minor under this section is if a citizen of another country must renounce that within six months.
Citizenship by registration (Sec. 5)
The Central Government may, on an application made in this behalf, register as a citizen of India any person not being an illegal migrant who is not already citizen-
(a) a person of Indian origin who is ordinarily resident in India for seven years before making an application for registration;
(b) a person of Indian origin who is ordinarily resident in any country or place outside undivided India;
(c) a person who is married to a citizen of India and is ordinarily resident in India for seven years before making an application for registration;
(d) minor children of persons who are citizens of India;
(e) a person of full age and capacity whose parents are registered as citizens of India under clause (a) of this sub-section or sub-section (1) of section 6;
(f) a person of full age and capacity who, or either of his parents, was earlier citizen of independent India, and is ordinarily resident in India for twelve months immediately before making an application for registration;
(g) a person of full age and capacity who has been registered as an Overseas Citizen of India Cardholder for five years, and who is ordinarily resident in India for twelve months before making an application for registration.
Citizenship By Naturalisation (Sec. 6)
Citizenship of India by naturalization can be acquired by a foreigner who is ordinarily resident in India for twelve years (continuously for the twelve months preceding the date of application and for eleven years in the aggregate in the fourteen years preceding the twelve months) and fulfils all qualifications in the third schedule of the Citizenship Act.
Citizenship by incorporation of territories (Sec. 7)
When any territory is added to the constitution of India, then the people of those territories would be considered as the citizen of India. These people would be granted citizenship by the Official Gazette once the Central Government notifies them. They would be considered as the citizen from the date specified in the order.
Renunciation of Citizenship (Sec. 8)
(1) If any citizen of India of full age and capacity makes in the prescribed manner a declaration renouncing his Indian Citizenship, the declaration shall be registered by the prescribed authority; and, upon such registration, that person shall cease to be a citizen of India:
Provided that if any such declaration is made during any war in which India may be engaged, registration thereof shall be withheld until the Central Government otherwise directs.
(2) Where a person ceases to be a citizen of India under sub-section (1), every minor child of that person shall thereupon cease to be a citizen of India:
Provided that any such child may, within one year after attaining full age, make a declaration in the prescribed form and manner that he wishes to resume Indian citizenship and shall thereupon again become a citizen of India.
Termination of citizenship (Sec. 9)
When a citizen of India voluntarily acquires the citizenship of another country, then he ceases to be a citizen of India. But a citizen of India who voluntarily acquires the citizenship of some other country during the period of war, then his citizenship won’t be ceased till the Central Government directs.
Deprivation of citizenship (Sec. 10)
(a) the registration or certificate of naturalization was obtained by means of fraud, false representation or the concealment of any material fact; or
(b) that citizen has shown himself by act or speech to be disloyal or disaffected towards the Constitution of India as by law established; or
(c) that citizen has, during any war in which India may be engaged, unlawfully traded or communicated with an enemy or been engaged in, or associated with, any business that was to his knowledge carried on in such manner as to assist an enemy in that war; or
(d) that citizen has, within five years after registration or naturalisation, been sentenced in any country to imprisonment for a term of not less than two years; or
(e) that citizen has been ordinarily resident out of India for a continuous period of seven years, and during that period, has neither been at any time a student of any educational institution in a country outside India or in the service of a Government in India or of an international organization of which India is a member, not registered annually in the prescribed manner at an Indian consulate his intention to retain his citizenship of India.