Citizens are full members of the Indian state who enjoy all civil and political rights. The constitution confers the following rights and privilege on the citizens of India

  • 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 (article 29 and article 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, the attorney general of India and advocate generals of the states

Along with the above rights, citizens also owe certain duties towards the Indian state, such as paying taxes, respecting the national anthem and the national flag, defining the country, etc. In India, both a citizen by birth as well as a naturalised citizen is eligible for the office of the president

CONSTITUITAL PROVISIONS

  • The constitution deals with citizenship from articles 5 to 11 under part II
  • It only identifies the persons who become citizens of India at its commencements that’s on January 26, 1950
  • It empowers the parliaments to enact a law to provide for such matters and any other matter relating to citizenship
  • Accordingly, the parliament has enacted the citizenship act 1955, 1992, 2003,2005, 2015

According to the constituent the following four categories of persons became the citizens of India at its commencement that’s in the 26th of January 1950

  • A person who had his domicile in India and also fulfilled any one of the three conditions is if he was born in India, or if either of his parents was born in India, or if he is ordinarily resident of India for five years immediately before the commencement of the constitution, became a citizen of India (article 5)
  • A person who migrated to India from Pakistan became an Indian citizen if he or either of his parents or any of his grandparents was born in undivided India and also fulfilled any one of the two conditions those are in the case, he migrated to India before July 19, 1948; he had been registered as a citizen of India. But a person could be registered only if he had been resident in India for six months preceding the date of his application for registration (Article 7)
  • A person who migrated to Pakistan from India after march 1, 1947, but later returned to India for resettlement could become an Indian citizen. For this, he had to be resident in India for six months preceding the date of application for registration (Article 7)
  • A person who, or any of whose parents or grandparents, was born in undivided India but who is ordinarily residing outside India shall become an Indian citizen if he has been registered as a citizen of India by the diplomatic or consular representative of India by the diplomatic or consular representative of India in the country of his residence, whether before or after the commencement of the constitution. Thus, this provision covers the overseas Indians who many want to acquire Indian citizenship (article 8)

To sum up, these provisions deal with the citizenship of (a)persons domiciled in India (b)persons migrated from Pakistan (c)persons migrated to Pakistan but later returned and (d)persons of Indian origin residing outside India

The other constitutional provisions with respect to the citizenship are as follows

  • No person shall be a citizen of India or be deemed to be a citizen of India if he has voluntarily acquired citizenship of any foreign state (article 9)
  • Every person who is or is deemed to be a citizen of India shall continue to be such a citizen subject to the provisions of any law made by the parliament (article 10)
  • Parliament shall have the power to make any provision with respect to the acquisition and termination of citizenship and all other matters relating to citizenship

LOSS OF CITIZENSHIP

The citizenship act, 1955 prescribes three ways of losing citizenship whether acquired under the act or prior to it under the constitution, those are renunciation, termination, deprivation

BY RENUNCIATION

  • Any citizen of India of full age and capacity can make a declaration renouncing his or her Indian citizenship
  • Upon the registration of that declaration, that person ceases to be a citizen of India
  • However, if such a declaration is made during a war in which India is engaged, its registration shall be withheld by the central government
  • When a person renounces his Indian citizenship, every minor child of that person also loses Indian citizenship
  • When such a child attains the age of eighteen, he may resume Indians citizenship

BY TERMINATION

  • When Indian citizenship voluntarily acquires the citizenship of another country, his Indian citizenship automatically terminates
  • This however does not apply during a war in which India is engaged

BY DEPRIVATION

  • It is a compulsory termination of Indian citizenship by the central government, If
  • The citizen has obtained citizenship by fraud
  • The citizen has shown disloyalty to the constitution of India
  • The citizen has unlawfully traded or communicated with the enemy during a war
  • The citizen has, within five years after registration or naturalisation been imprisoned in any country for two years
  • The citizen has been ordinarily resident out of India for seven years continuously

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