How a Person Can Become a Citizen of India

A citizen is a person who enjoys full civil and political rights. Citizens are different from the aliens who don’t enjoy these rights. Citizenship carries it with certain advantages conferred by the Constitution. Aliens do not enjoy these advantages. Parliament in exercise of powers given to it under Article 11 of the Constitution has passed the Citizenship Act, 1955 making provisions for the acquisition and termination of the Citizenship after the commencement of the Constitution.

There are five ways of acquiring citizenship – birth, descent, registration, naturalization, and incorporation of territory.

By birth (Section 3) –

A person born in India on or after January 26, 1950 but before July 1987 is a citizen of India irrespective of the nationality of his parents.

A person born in India on or after July 1, 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 December 3, 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.

The children of foreign diplomats posted in India and enemy aliens cannot acquire Indian citizenship by birth.

By Descent (Section 4) –

A person born outside India on or after January 26, 1950 but before December 10, 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 December 10, 1992 is considered to be a citizen of India if either of his parents is a citizen of India at the time of his birth.

December 3, 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 at the date of birth or with the permission of the Central Government, after the expiry of the same period.  An application for registration of birth of a minor child, to an Indian consulate shall be accompanied by an undertaking in writing from the parents of such minor child that he or she does not hold the passport of another country.

A minor who is a citizen of India by virtue of descent and is also a citizen of any other country shall cease to be a citizen of India if he does not renounce the citizenship or nationality of another country within six months of his attaining full age.

By Registration (Section 5) –

The Central Government, May on an application, register as a citizen of India any person (not being an illegal migrant) if he belongs to any of the categories –

  • A person of Indian origin if he is an ordinary resident of India for seven years before making an application for registration.
  • A person of Indian origin who is ordinarily resident in any country or place outside undivided India
  • A person who is married to a citizen of India and is ordinarily resident in India for seven years before making an application for registration.
  • A person of full age and capacity whose parents are registered as citizens of India;
  • 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 making an application for registration;
  • A person of full age and capacity who has been registered as an overseas citizen of India cardholder for five years, and who is ordinary resident in India for twelve months before making an application for registration.

A person shall be deemed to be of Indian origin if he, or either of his parents, was born in undivided India or in such territory which became part of India after the 15th August 1947. All the above categories of persons must take an oath of allegiance before they are registered as citizens of India.

By Naturalization (Section 6) –

The Central Government may, on application grant a certificate of naturalization to any person (not being an illegal migrant) if he possesses the following qualifications –

  • That he is not a subject or citizen of any country where citizens of Indi are prevented from becoming subjects or citizens of that country by naturalization;
  • That he is a citizen of any country, he undertakes to renounce the citizenship of that country in the event of his application for Indian citizenship being accepted
  • That he has either resided in India or been in the service of a Government of India or partly the one and the partly the other, throughout the period of twelve months immediately preceding the date of his application
  • That during the fourteen years immediately preceding the said period of twelve months, he has either resided in India or been in the service of a Government in India, or partly the one and another, for periods amounting the aggregate to not less than eleven years;
  • That he is of good character;
  • That he has an adequate knowledge of language specified in the Eight schedule of the Constitution;
  • That in the event of certificate of naturalization being granted to him, he intends to reside in India, or to enter into or continue in, service under a government in India or under an international organization of which India is a member or under a society, company or bodies of person established by India.

By Incorporation of Territory (Section 7)

If any foreign territory becomes a part of India, the Government of India specifies the persons who among the people of that territory shall be the citizens of India. Such person becomes the citizens of India from the notified date.

Example – Pondicherry became a part of India, the Government of India issued the Citizenship (Pondicherry) Order (1962) under the Citizenship Act (1955).

Conclusion

Abovementioned five method enables a person to acquire the citizenship of India and enjoy fundamental rights guaranteed under Article 15 (No discrimination on the ground of race, religion, caste, sex or place of birth), Article 16 (Equality of opportunity in the matters of public employment), Article 19 (Six freedoms), Article 29 and 30 (Cultural and Educational Rights). Certain offices like that of a President[1] , Vice President[2], Judges of Supreme Court[3] or of the High Court;[4] Attorney General;[5] Governor of a State;[6] Advocate General of a State.[7] The right to vote for election to the House of People and the Legislative Assemblies of a State is available to the citizens only and only they can become the members of Union and State Legislatures. There was an amendment made under the Citizenship Act 1955, in the year 1985 and it had added special provisions as to citizenship of persons covered by the Assam Accord.

References

Dr. J.N. Pandey, “Constitutional Law of India” (Central Law Agency 57th Edition 2020) 35

M. Laxmikanth, “Indian Polity” (Mc Graw Hill Education (India) Private Ltd. 6th Edition) 120


[1] Indian CONST. Article 58 (1) (a)

[2] Indian CONST. Article 66 (3) (a)

[3] Indian CONST. Article 124 (3)

[4] Indian CONST. Article 217 (2)

[5] Indian CONST. Article 76(1)

[6] Indian CONST. Article 157

[7] Indian CONST. Article 165

Aishwarya Says:

I have always been against Glorifying Over Work and therefore, in the year 2021, I have decided to launch this campaign “Balancing Life”and talk about this wrong practice, that we have been following since last few years. I will be talking to and interviewing around 1 lakh people in the coming 2021 and publish their interview regarding their opinion on glamourising Over Work.

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