Citizenship Act 1955 (Provisions and Amendments)

Citizenship Act 1955 (Provisions and Amendments)

Methods of Acquisition of Indian Citizenship

Constitution of India

Citizenship ( Articles 5 -11) Part -2 of the Constitution

Citizenship Act 1955(Provisions and Amendments)

The Citizenship Act, 1955 and its amendments deal with the acquisition and Losing of Indian citizenship. In addition, the Constitution also provides citizenship rights to foreign nationals of India (Overseas Citizen of India), Non-Resident Indians( NRI) and Persons of Indian Origin( PIOs).

A citizen is the person who enjoys full civil and political rights. The term of citizenship mentions to the enjoyment of full membership of any community or state in which a citizen  enjoys civil and political rights. It can be defined as a legal relationship of an individual with a particular state.

Constitutional Provisions for Citizenship

The Constitutional Assembly included a general provision for Parliament by Article 11 to regulate citizenship by law. However, when it adopted the Constitution it brought into force Part 2 of Constitution for Citizenship with Articles 5-11 which deals about citizenship.

Citizenship Act 1955 deals with the acquisition and Losing of citizenship after the commencement of the Constitution.

The Citizenship Act, 1955 provides for the acquisition and termination of Indian citizenship.

Acquisition of Indian citizenship.

Indian citizenship can be acquired in four ways: birth, descent, registration and naturalization.

Citizenship by Birth ( Section-3)

  • ‘Every person born in India on or after 26.01.1950 but before 01.07.1987 is an Indian citizen irrespective of the nationality of his/her parents.
  • Every person born in India between 01.07.1987 and the commencement  of the Citizenship (Amendment ) Act, 2003 is a citizen of India, either of his/her parents is a citizen of the India at the time of his/her birth.
  • Each person born in India on or after 3.12.2004 is a citizen of the country where both his/her parents are Indians or at least one parent is a citizen and other is not an illegal migrant at the time of his birth.’(1)

 Citizenship by Descent ( Section – 4)

  • “A person born outside India on or after 26th Jan.1950 is a citizen of India by descent if his/her father was a citizen of India at the time of his/ her birth.
  • A person born outside India on or after 10th Dec. 1992 but before 3rd Dec. 2004 if either of his/her parent was a citizen of India at the time of his/ her 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 the Indian consulate within one year of birth or the commencement of the act.”(2)

Citizenship by Registration ( Section – 5)

Citizenship can also be acquired by registration. Some of the mandatory rules are:

  1. ‘A person of Indian origin who is ordinarily c of India for seven years before applying for registration.
  2. A person of Indian origin who is ordinarily is resident of any country outside undivided India.
  3. Any person who is married to a citizen of India and is ordinarily resident of India  for seven years before applying for registration.
  4. Minor children of persons who are citizens of India.
  5. A person of full age and capacity who or either of his parents are registered as citizens of India under sub-section (1) of section 6.
  6. 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 applying for registration.
  7. Any person of full age and capacity who has been registered as an Overseas Citizen of India Card- holder for five years and who is ordinarily resident in India for twelve month before applying for registration.’(3)

Explanation 1. –

“For the purpose of clause a) and c) An applicant shall be deemed to be resident of India –

  • If he has resided in India throughtout the period of 12 months immediately before applying for registration.and
  • If he has resided in India during 8 years immediately before  the period of 12 months for at least 6 years.

Explanation 2. –

For the purpose of this section A person shall be deemed to be of Indian origin if he or either his parents was born in undivided India or in such other territory which became part of India after the 15th day of August, 1947.”(4)

But if Central Govt. is satisfied that special circumstances exit may relax the period of 12 months up to a maximum of thirty days which may be in different breaks for clause (f) , (g) and clause (i) of Explanation 1 ( Inserted by the Amendment Act 2015)

Citizenship by Naturalization ( Section -6)

“Any person of full age and capacity “ not being an illegal migrant” (Substituted by the Citizenship  Amendment  Act, 2003) can apply for the grant of a certificate of naturalization to him, and the Central Govt. is satisfied that the applicant is qualified for naturalization under the provisions of Third Schedule grant him a certificate of naturalization.” (5)

The qualifications for naturalization of a person are:-

  1. “If he is not a citizen or subject of a country where Indian citizens are prevented by law or practice from becoming citizens of that country by naturalization;
  2. If he renounces his citizenship of the other country ( Subs. By Act, 2014)
  3. Whether he has either resided in India and/or been in government service for 12 months immediately preceding the date of application;

Provided If (Central Govt. is satisfied that special circumtances exit then it may relaxe the period of 12 months upto a maximum of thirty days which may be in different breaks.) Inserted by act, 2015

  • If during 14 years before the said period of 12 months, he has either resided in India  and/or been in government services for at least  11 years;
  • Whether he is of good character;
  • if he has sufficient knowledge of the language mentioned in Schedule VIII of the Constitution;
  • If after naturalization, he intends to reside in India.”(6)

Citizenship by Incorporation of territory ( Section 7) –

If a new territory becomes part of India, the Government of India will nominate a person from that territory as a citizen of India.’(7)

Overseas Citizen of India Card- holder –

According to clause ( ee) of Section 2 (substituted by the Amendment Act 2015)

“Overseas Citizen of India Card- holder” means a person registered as an Overseas Citizen of India Card- holder by the Central Government under Section 7-A.

Overseas Citizenship – Section 7-A, 7-B, 7-C and 7-D (inserted by the Citizenship Amendment Act, 2003 and substituted by Act of 2015)

 make the provisions of Registration of Overseas Citizen of India Card-holder, Conferment of rights on Overseas Citizen of India Card- holder, Renunciation of Overseas Citizen of India Card and Cancellation of registration as Overseas of India Card- holder.

This act does not provide for dual citizenship or dual citizenship. It only allows the citizenship of a person listed under the above provisions: by birth, descent, registration or naturalization.

This all about Citizenship Act 1955(Provisions and Amendments)

Plz. click the link to know about Losing of Citizenship of India & Amendments

(1) Dr. J. N. Pandey, ‘Constitutional Law of India’ Central Law Agency

(2) Ibid

(3) Ibid

(4) Ibid

(5) Ibid

(6) Ibid

(7) Ibid

Plz. click the link to read Study Material for Law

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