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CHAPTER 8 - Citizenship (PART - II)

Constitutional Provisions

The Constitution deals with the citizenship from Articles 5 to 11 under Part II. However, it contains
neither any permanent nor any elaborate provisions in this regard.
Subject Matter
Citizenship at the commencement of the Constitution
Rights of citizenship of certain persons who have migrated to India from Pakistan
Rights of citizenship of certain migrants to Pakistan
Rights of citizenship of certain persons of Indian origin residing outside India
Persons voluntarily acquiring citizenship of a foreign State not to be citizens
Continuance of the rights of citizenship
Parliament to regulate the right of citizenship by law

Acquisition of Citizenship

The Citizenship Act of 1955 prescribes five ways of acquiring citizenship, viz, birth, descent,
registration, naturalisation and incorporation of territory:

1. By Birth - 
  • A person born in India on or after 26th January 1950 but before 1st July 1987 is a citizen of India by birth irrespective of the nationality of his parents.
  • A person born in India on or after 1st July 1987 is considered as a citizen of India only if either of his parents is a citizen of India at the time of his birth.
  • Further, those born in India on or after 3rd December 2004 are considered citizens of India only if both of their 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 their birth.
2. By Descent -
  • A person born outside India on or after 26th January 1950 but before 10th December 1992 is a citizen of India by descent, if his father was a citizen of India at the time of his birth.
  • A person born outside India on or after 10th December 1992 is considered as a citizen of India if either of his parents is a citizen of India at the time of his birth.
  • From 3rd December 2004 onwards, a person born outside India shall not be a citizen of India by descent, unless his birth is registered at an Indian consulate within one year of the date of birth or with the permission of the Central Government
3. By Registration - The Central Government may, on an application, register as a citizen of India any person (not being an illegal migrant)

4. By Naturalisation - The Central Government may, on an application, grant a certificate of
naturalisation to any person (not being an illegal migrant)

5. By Incorporation of Territory - If any foreign territory becomes a part of India, the Government of India specifies the persons who among the people of the territory shall be the citizens of India. Such persons become the citizens of India from the notified date.

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, viz, renunciation, termination and deprivation:

1. By Renunciation - Any citizen of India of full age and capacity can make a declaration renouncing his Indian citizenship. Upon the registration of that declaration, that person ceases to be a citizen of India.

2. By Termination - When an Indian citizen voluntarily (consciously, knowingly and without duress,
undue influence or compulsion) acquires the citizenship of another country, his Indian citizenship
automatically terminates. This provision, however, does not apply during a war in which India is

3. By Deprivation - It is a compulsory termination of Indian citizenship by the Central government, if:
(a) the citizen has obtained the citizenship by fraud:
(b) the citizen has shown disloyalty to the Constitution of India:
(c) the citizen has unlawfully traded or communicated with the enemy during a war;
(d) the citizen has, within five years after registration or naturalisation, been imprisoned in any
country for two years; and
(e) the citizen has been ordinarily resident out of India for seven years continuously.

Single Citizenship
  • Though the Indian Constitution is federal and envisages a dual polity (Centre and states), it provides for only a single citizenship.
  • The other federal states like USA and Switzerland, on the other hand, adopted the system of double citizenship.


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