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GS-I :
  • 19 August, 2019

  • Min Read

How an Indian citizen is defined?

GS-I: How an Indian citizen is defined?

Context

In the run-up to the publication of the final NRC in Assam, citizenship has become the most talked about topic in the country.

How is citizenship determined?

  • Citizenship signifies the relationship between individual and state.
  • It begins and ends with state and law, and is thus about the state, not people.
  • Citizenship is an idea of exclusion as it excludes non-citizens.

Principles for grant of citizenship

  • There are two well-known principles for grant of citizenship.
  • While jus soli confers citizenship on the basis of place of birth, jus sanguinis gives recognition to blood ties.
  • From the time of the Motilal Nehru Committee (1928), the Indian leadership was in favour of the enlightened concept of jus soli.

Citizenship in India

  • Citizenship is in the Union List under the Constitution and thus under the exclusive jurisdiction of Parliament.
  • The Constitution does not define the term ‘citizen’ but gives, in Articles 5 to 11, details of various categories of persons who are entitled to citizenship.
  • Unlike other provisions of the Constitution, which came into being on January 26, 1950, these articles were enforced on November 26, 1949, itself, when the Constitution was adopted.
  • However, Article 11 itself confers wide powers on Parliament by laying down that “nothing in the foregoing provisions shall derogate from the power of Parliament to make any provision with respect to the acquisition and termination of citizenship and all matters relating to citizenship”.
  • Thus Parliament can go against the citizenship provisions of the Constitution.
  • The Citizenship Act, 1955 was passed and has been amended four times — in 1986, 2003, 2005, and 2015. The Act empowers the government to determine the citizenship of persons in whose case it is in doubt.

Who is, or is not, a citizen of India?

Article 5

  • It provided for citizenship on the commencement of the Constitution.
  • All those domiciled and born in India were given citizenship.
  • Even those who were domiciled but not born in India, but either of whose parents was born in India, were considered citizens.

Article 6

Since Independence was preceded by Partition and migration, Article 6 laid down that anyone who migrated to India before July 19, 1949, would automatically become an Indian citizen if either of his parents or grandparents was born in India.

Article 7

Even those who had migrated to Pakistan after March 1, 1947 but subsequently returned on resettlement permits were included within the citizenship net.

Article 8

Any Person of Indian Origin residing outside India who, or either of whose parents or grandparents, was born in India could register himself or herself as an Indian citizen with Indian Diplomatic Mission.

Amendments to the Citizenship Act, 1955

1986 amendment

  • The constitutional provision and the original Citizenship Act gave citizenship on the principle of jus soli to everyone born in India.
  • However, the 1986 amendment to Section 3 was less inclusive as it added the condition that those who were born in India on or after January 26, 1950 but before July 1, 1987, shall be Indian citizen.

Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2019

  • The amendment proposes to permit members of six communities - Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christians from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan to continue to live in India if they entered India before December 14, 2014.
  • It also reduces the requirement for citizenship from 11 years out of the preceding 14 years, to just 6 years.
  • Two notifications also exempted these migrants from the Passport Act and Foreigner Act.
  • A large number of organisations in Assam protested against this Bill as it may grant citizenship to Bangladeshi Hindu illegal migrants.

Source: Indian Express


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