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Citizenship is the relation between the Country or State with the people residing there when they acquire such citizenship certain rights and privileges are given to them at the same time they are entitled to follow legal duty,  rights and liabilities, obedience, civil and political duties and rights as well. When a person acquires citizenship they get a status of legally being a member of a country.

The President of India is the 1st citizen of India.

The Constitution of India gives singe citizenship to the people of the country. The citizenship a person acquires is a relation between the nation and their relation with the state is not provided with the citizenship.

History of forming citizenship provisions in the constitution

After a great struggle, India arose as an independent nation and the independence which was given by the British gave birth to the new country,  Pakistan. The people in India were given the choice of joining either of the countries. During partition, many people migrated from one country to another they faced violence, they were homeless and a lot of other struggles were tackled. When the humans in the county faced the above-said problems, the country faced the problem of Nationality ie., who are all can be considered as citizens of India and who cannot be.  The citizenship and nationality problem was tried to solved by the Constitution of India that was adopted on January 26, 1950.

Constitutional provisions governing citizenship

The provisions relating to citizenship in the Constitution of India was adopted on 29th January 1950. The provisions were in the Part-II of the Indian Constitution, articles from 5 -11. These provisions were applicable to all of India including Jammu and Kashmir.

Article 5: Citizenship at the commencement of the constitution.

States that “every person” who has a domicile in the territory of India Who was born in the territory of India or Either of whose parents were born in the territory of India or Who has been ordinarily resident in the territory of India for not less than 5 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.

A person who has migrated from Pakistan to the territory of India shall obtain citizenship at the commencement of the constitution.

Article 7: Rights of citizenship of certain migrants to Pakistan.

The person who migrated from India to the territory Pakistan shall not be deemed to be citizenship of India.

Article 8: Rights of citizenship of certain persons of Indian origin residing outside India.

Any person who or either of whose parents or any of whose grandparents was born in India and who is ordinarily residing in any country outside India as so defined shall be deemed to be a citizen of India.

Article 9: Persons voluntarily acquiring citizenship of a foreign State not to be citizens.

If any person has voluntarily acquired citizenship in any of the foreign states.

Article 10: Continuance of the rights of citizenship.

When a person has attained citizenship according to part II of the Constitution, they continue to be a citizen of India.

Article 11: Parliament to regulate the right of citizenship by law.

When the provisions of this part have made any mistakes the parliament has the power to make any provision with respect to the acquisition and termination of citizenship and all other matters relating to citizenship.

Apart from the provisions in the constitution, there is an act relating to citizenship called a Citizenship Act which was passed in 1955 by the Indian Parliament.

Citizenship Act and its amendments

Citizenship Act, 1955: This act is about providing citizenship to the people of India after the commencement of the Constitution.

This act aims at providing citizenship and also explains when will a person lose their citizenship ie., the termination of Indian citizenship. Any person born in India after one can lose their citizenship ie., the commencement of the constitution shall acquire citizenship by birth, but they are also subject to certain requirements.  This is an exception to those of children of diplomats and enemy aliens.

Under this act, a person can acquire citizenship by birth, by registration, by naturalization, by descent, etc., and termination can be made by renunciation, by termination, by deprivation.

Citizenship Amendment Act, 1986: This amendment is made exclusively for people residing in Assam. The illegal migrants can acquire citizenship by means of prescribed form which is mentioned in the act.

Citizenship Amendment Act, 1992: When a person lives in any country outside India they can acquire citizenship if either of their parents had citizenship when that person was born.

Citizenship Amendment Act, 2003: In this amendment, citizenship of overseas people was introduced. The provisions were related to registration for acquiring citizenship of overseas residents and their powers, duties were explained.

Citizenship Amendment Act, 2005: Parliamentary Standing Committee on Home Affairs recommended this amendment. The provisions were related to POI (persons of Indian Origin) and  OCI (Overseas Citizen of India)

Citizenship Amendment Act, 2015: “Overseas Citizen of Indian Card Holder” made known to the people, its concept and how it works were explained in its provision. It merges the POI and OCI which was introduced in the previous amendments.

Citizenship Amendment Act, 2019: Illegal migrants from Pakistan, Afghanistan, Bangladesh who are Hindu, Sikh, Parsi, Buddhist, and Christian are given a definition of citizenship in this amendment. Who has been living in India form past years without any legal documents ie., which shows that they are Indian Citizens are defined in this amendment.

Modes of acquiring citizenship

By birth ( section 3): A person born in India is considered a citizen of India if either of their parents is a citizen of India and the other parent should not be an illegal migrant at the time of their birth.

By descent ( section 4): A person born outside India acquires citizenship such type is called as citizenship by descent. In case the father of such a person has acquired citizenship then that person cannot acquire citizenship without certain requirements.

By registration (section 5): Indian Citizenship by registration cannot be acquired by the illegal migrants. There are various requirements provided by the act by following those requirements, a person or their parents can apply for registration of Indian Citizenship.

By naturalization (section 6): Indian Citizenship by naturalization can be acquired by the illegal migrants who are residing in India without being recognized by law for more than 12 years.

Modes of losing citizenship

Renunciation: When a person requires citizenship in another country other than India inevitably his citizenship in India terminates. Such losing of citizenship is a deliberate action by the person.

Termination: An Indian citizen acquires citizenship in any other foreign country, their Indian Citizenship has been terminated as per rule of law.

Deprivation: If a person has acquired citizenship by registration or by naturalization using any fraudulent documents then their citizenship will be compulsorily terminated even if a person who acquired citizenship does not wish it for.


When a person has all the requirements to be a citizen of India such a person has all the rights to acquire Citizenship in India. But the right they possess is not a “Fundamental Right”. Though the right of citizenship is constitutionally valid, such right is not provided as the Fundamental Right.

–  Manusri Ramakrishna



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