Citizenship is an identity that gives us a special place and facilities in the world. In this article, we will discuss citizenship in a simple and easy way and try to understand its various important aspects, read the article till the end to understand the whole concept.

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| What is Citizenship ?

Citizenship is not a separate concept but it is linked to nationalism, democracy, fundamental civil rights, freedom etc. Because in a way,  citizenship is the relation between an individual and a state, in which the individual has allegiance to the state and in return for that loyalty the state provides him protection.” ,

At the time when there was a monarchy or when there was no democracy, there was a relationship between the individual and the king, even at that time the person was made a part of a particular organization or group, where he got some special type of right or duty. . That is why one of the definitions of citizenship is also that “citizenship is the acquisition of membership of any organization formed for the purpose of achieving common interests”.

But gradually the demand for some basic civil rights or individual rights started by the common people. Which was also given by the ruling party, such as the Bill of Rights was brought in Britain in 1689, under which the power of the king was reduced and the power of the parliament was increased. Along with this, many civil rights were given to the people.

Similarly, during the French Revolution in 1789, the concept of the nation state gained momentum, emphasizing the establishment of a common identity on the basis of shared culture, history and territory.

That is to say, as individual liberties or collective civil liberties increased, the monarchy weakened and democratic values ​​became stronger. In this way the relationship between the individual and the state changed as the state now functioned as an independent-sovereign organization and the responsibility of the people living in that organization came to stand united to defend their sovereignty.

For this the state gave certain privileges and responsibilities to its members or the people living within that territory. In this way, these people came to be called citizens there because the privileges and responsibilities that they get are not available to people outside this territory. That’s why outsiders are called Foreigners or aliens.

In short, those people who are full members of a country and who have allegiance to the state are called citizens . Such people get all the civil and political rights of the country. When this right is not available to a citizen of another country, it is called a foreigner .

This foreigner is usually a citizen of some country and he has allegiance to that country, so he has a passport of that country. If that person wants to go to another country, then usually first permission has to be taken from that country, which is called Visa . If someone is living in some other country without or without illegal visa and passport, then he is called Illegal migrant .

Apart from this, there are people who have fled from war, violence, conflict or persecution and take refuge in another country by crossing the international border to find security in another country, are called refugees .

So generally a person is a citizen of some country, but there are times when a person is not a citizen of any country, he is called stateless. For example – in India it is a rule that a child born here will be a citizen of India only if both his parents are citizens of India at the time of his birth or either of them is a citizen of India and the other is not an illegal migrant.

But let’s say a man who is a citizen of India and another an American girl who is living illegally in India. Now if these two have a child, then that child will neither be a citizen of America nor of India. That is, he is stateless .

UNHCR – According to the statistics of the UNHCR, at present 10.20 million people in the whole world are stateless. On the other hand, if we talk about refugee, then its number in the world is around 25 million.

Remember here that refugees can also be stateless but not all refugees are stateless. Why so, you must be understanding.

| Rights of foreigners with respect to India

Part 3 of the Constitution of India (Articles 12 to 35) deals with Fundamental Rights. But some of these rights are only and only for Indians, that is, the following rights are not available to foreigners in India.

1. Right against discrimination on grounds of religion, race, caste, sex or place of birth, under Article 15 ; Foreigners do not receive. That is, foreigners can be discriminated against on these grounds.

2. Right to equality in respect of public employment under Article 16 ; Foreigners do not receive. That means foreigners can be discriminated against in government jobs.

3. Under Article 19, even foreigners do not have the right to freedom. That is, by coming to our country, he cannot enjoy the level of freedom that we do.

4. Right to culture and education under Articles 29 and 30 ; Foreigners do not receive. That is, whether the language, script or culture of these people has survived in India or not, our constitution has no meaning.

Apart from this, these people cannot participate in the voting process, cannot contest elections, these people do not even have to pay taxes and do not have to be committed to the defense of the country. Remember here that foreigners of Indian origin get more rights than these ordinary foreigners. How? It is explained further.

|Constitutional provisions of citizenship

As we know, there is a system of single citizenship in India. That is, no matter what part of the country you are from, you will be a citizen of India only, not of that particular region.

Part 2 of the Constitution of India describes citizenship, under which there are 7 articles from Articles 5 to 11. But it is to be remembered here that in these articles the citizenship of only those people who had become or were about to become citizens of the country at the time of independence has been discussed.

After this, the Citizenship Act 1955 was made to provide for citizenship for those born or for other newcomers to the country. Which we will discuss further, let us first understand the constitutional system.

In which Articles 5 to 8, till the day the Constitution comes into force, about whoever has got citizenship.

Article 5 – Citizenship at the commencement of the Constitution

Every person residing in India shall be a citizen of India if he fulfills any one of the following conditions – (1) he must be born in India, or (2) one of his parents must be born in India , or (3) he has been residing in India for five years before the commencement of the Constitution.  

| Read in DetailsArticle 5

Article 6 – Rights of citizenship of persons coming to India from Pakistan

If a person has come to India from Pakistan then he can become a citizen of India. If, his parents or grandparents were born in undivided India and if he had come to India before 19th July 1948 for the purpose of his residence.

| Read in DetailsArticle 6

Article 7 – Rights of citizenship of persons who went from India to Pakistan and came back to India

A person who migrated from India to Pakistan after 1st March 1947 but later returned to India for resettlement can get Indian citizenship but he will have to submit an application to the Government of India and thereafter for 6 months. Must reside in India.

| Read in DetailsArticle 7

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

This is for those people whose parents or grandparents were born in undivided India but are ordinarily residing somewhere outside India, can also become a citizen of India. But he will have to apply for registration for citizenship to the diplomat of India present in that country. 

| Read in DetailsArticle 8

So overall these are the four types of people who were given citizenship till the constitution came into force. Let us now understand the next three paragraphs.

Article 9 – Persons who voluntarily acquire the citizenship of a foreign state not to be citizens of India

A person shall not be deemed to be a citizen of India who voluntarily acquires the citizenship of any other country. That is to say that India does not recognize dual citizenship. If a person acquires citizenship of any other country, then he will have to be deprived of the citizenship of India.

| Read in DetailsArticle 9

Article 10 – Continuance of the rights of citizenship

This article gives an assurance that those who have been given citizenship under Articles 5, 6, 7, and 8 will continue to be citizens in India. That is, citizenship will not be taken away from such people.

| Read in DetailsArticle 10

Article 11 – Regulation of right to citizenship by Parliament by law

Under this article, Parliament has the power to make any rule or law relating to the acquisition and termination of citizenship or the like. That is to say, this article gives the Parliament the power to make laws regarding citizenship.

| Read in DetailsArticle 11

The constitutional provision of Articles 5 to 11 is just that. Obviously, there is nothing clear about citizenship in the future, because it focuses on the circumstances at the time of the coming into force of the Constitution.  That is why the Citizenship Act was brought in 1955 to remove all the shortcomings related to citizenship. This is the most important document regarding citizenship, that is why it is very important to understand it.

| Citizenship Act 1955

There are 18 sections in this act, out of which sections 3 to 7 have been given respectively 5 ways of obtaining citizenship of India, which are as follows –

1. By birth
2. By descent
3. By registration
4. Naturally
5. On the basis of area comprised. 

1. Citizenship by birth

Every such person shall be a citizen of India by birth who is born in India on or after 26 January 1950 but before 1 July 1987.

This means that in the above time interval, India used to run on the principle of Jus Soli, that is, if any child is born on the land of India, he will be entitled to Indian citizenship. It does not matter whether you are a citizen of that country or not, if your child is born there then he will get citizenship there. America also follows the same principle.

In India, the problem of illegal migrants became more serious due to this system (especially in the context of illegal migrants from Bangladesh), so in 1986, the Citizenship Act 1955 was amended and a condition was added to it. That is, on the basis of birth after July 1, 1987, a person will get citizenship of India only if one of his parents is a citizen of India at the time of his birth.

But later this also proved to be insufficient and in 2003, through another amendment in the Citizenship Act 1955, some conditions were added to it. That is, after the coming into force of this amendment (with effect from 2004), a person can now become a citizen of India by birth only if (1) both his parents are citizens of India at the time of his birth , or ( 2) One of his parents is a citizen of India and the other is not an illegal migrant.

2. Citizenship by Descent

A person born outside India on or after 26 January 1950 but before 10 December 1992 shall be a citizen of India by descent if his father is an Indian citizen at the time of his birth.

But if the father of the child born is an Indian citizen on the basis of descent only, then his child will have to be registered with the Indian Embassy located in that country within 1 year. (This is called the Doctrine of Jus Sanguinis.)

There was a problem here that for the citizenship of the child, the father had to be an Indian citizen. That is why when the Women’s Commission was constituted in January 1992, it raised this point. As a result, the Citizenship Act (Section 4) of 1955 was amended in 1992 to provide that a child born outside India on or after 10 December 1992 shall now be a citizen of India if either of his parents is his birth. Be a citizen of India at the time.

But if the mother or father of the child born is an Indian citizen on the basis of descent only, then his child will have to be registered with the Indian Embassy located in that country within 1 year.

However, in 2003 the Citizenship Act 1955 was amended and now it is provided that no child born outside India after 3rd December 2004 will get citizenship on the basis of descent unless he is registered within one year from the date of birth in the Indian Embassy. (One of his parents must be an Indian citizen at the time of his birth)

3. Citizenship by registration

The Central Government may, on receipt of an application, register a lawful migrant as a citizen of India under section 5 of the Citizenship Act 1955, if he falls under any one of the following categories-

(1) that person of Indian origin is ordinarily resident in India for 7 years before the date of application for registration;

Provided that he should have resided in India for the entire period of 1 year immediately preceding the application for registration, and must have resided in India for a period of not less than 6 years out of the 8 years preceding this 1 year .

The same above provision is applicable even if a person is married to a citizen of India.

(2) A person of Indian origin residing in any other country outside undivided India.

(3) Minor children of a citizen of India.

(4) Any person who is of full age and capacity and whose parents are registered as citizens of India.

(5) Any person who is of full age and capacity and either of his parents was previously a citizen of independent India and was ordinarily resident in India for one year immediately preceding the application for registration.

(6) Any person who is of full age and capacity and has been holding an OCI card issued by the Government of India for the last 5 years and has ordinarily resided in India for one year immediately preceding the date of application for registration.

Overall, you can understand it in this way that if a child is born outside India and he did not take Indian citizenship within one year from birth on the basis of descent and after becoming young, he feels like taking citizenship of India. If so, he can adopt this method.

️ All the above categories of people have to take oath of allegiance after getting registered as Indian citizen.

4. Citizenship by naturalisation

The Government of India may, on receipt of an application, grant citizenship to a person by naturalization provided he is not an illegal migrant and possesses the following qualifications:

(a) that person does not belong to any country where Indian citizens cannot become citizens by naturalization.

(b) if he is a citizen of any other country, on acquiring Indian citizenship, he shall renounce the citizenship of that country.

(c) if a person is residing in India and has been continuously residing in India for at least 1 year before the application for citizenship and at least 11 of the 14 years preceding this 1 year have been in India.

(d) He should be of good character in the eyes of the Government of India and must be proficient in any of the languages ​​mentioned in the Eighth Schedule to the Constitution.

However, the Government of India can relax the above conditions or ignore all the conditions only if the person is associated with any particular service like science, philosophy, art, literature, world peace or human progress etc.

️ Persons who become citizens in this way also have to take an oath of allegiance to the Constitution of India.

5. Citizenship by incorporation of territory

When any foreign territory is acquired by India, then the people living inside that particular area are given citizenship of India. For example, when Pondicherry and Goa were included in India, its people were given Indian citizenship. 

️ This was the method of acquiring citizenship, which has been described from sections 3 to 7 of the Citizenship Act 1955. Similarly, Sections 8, 9 and 10 pertain to the termination of citizenship which are explained below respectively.

| Provisions for Termination

1. Voluntary renunciation

According to Section 8 of the Citizenship Act, any Indian citizen of full age and capacity can renounce his citizenship if he wishes to. Provided that if a person declares to renounce Indian citizenship at a time when India is engaged in a war, his registration thereof shall be withheld until the Central Government directs.

2. By Termination 

According to section 9, if an Indian citizen voluntarily assumes the citizenship of any other country, his Indian citizenship will automatically be terminated. But when India is engaged in a war, its registration shall be kept fixed until the Central Government directs.

3. By depriving 

The Central Government shall deprive any person of Indian citizenship, if;

(1) If the citizenship is obtained by fraud,
(2) If the citizen has shown disrespect to the Constitution,
(3) If the citizen has unlawfully established relations with the enemy during the war or has been accused of any anti-national has given notice,
(4) during the five years of registration or naturalization of citizenship, the citizen has been imprisoned in any country for two years, 
(5) the citizen has ordinarily been residing outside India for seven years.

| Overseas Citizen of India 

Some schemes were started by the Government of India with the aim of providing dual citizenship to persons of Indian origin so that they can enjoy many rights of Indian citizenship without giving up the citizenship of any other country. For this, by amending the Citizenship Act 1955 itself, Section 7A, Section 7B, Section 7C and Section 7D were included. So read this article to know what is overseas Indian citizenship, what are its benefits, who can take advantage, etc

Hope you understand the concept of citizenship. for now you can attempt hindi quiz, if you wish. and don’t forget to read our other articles

Citizenship Practice Quiz #upsc

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↗️Citizenship FAQs – Hindi, English
↗️Important Acts & Rules
Difference between NRI and Person of Indian Origin
नागरिकता अधिनियम 1955 (संशोधन सहित)↗️
मूल संविधान भाग 2 नागरिकता↗️
Wikipedia – Indian nationality law↗️