Who is Indian?
In a state, the population is divided into two basic classes – Citizens and Aliens. Citizens are persons who have the civil rights of a country, whereas aliens do not enjoy all such rights. The fundamental rights available only to citizens of India are provided under Articles 15, 16, 19, 29, 30 of the constitution of India. The rights under Articles 14 and 21 are provided to aliens as well.
Who are Citizens of India?
According to Article 5 of the Constitution,
- every person who at the commencement of the constitution has his domicile in the territory of India and – was born in the territory of India; or
- either of whose parents was born in the territory of India; or
- who has been ordinarily resident in the territory of India for not less than five years immediately preceding such commencement, shall be a citizen of India.
In the case law, Mohammad Raza v. the State of Bombay AIR 1966 SC 1436, it was held that though the appellant was an original resident, he cannot acquire Indian Citizenship because he did no have a domicile in India.
Article 6 is related to the citizenship of migrants from Pakistan to India. Persons who have come to India after migration from Pakistan are classified into two categories:
- Those who came to India before 19 July 1948; and
- Those who came to India on or after 19 July 1948.
This date was specifically chosen due to the signing of the Permit System between the two countries. If either parents or grandparents of such a person are born in India, then he can be a citizen of India if he has been ordinarily residing in India since the date of his migration or has been registered as a citizen of India by an officer appointed by the Government of India.
Article 7 states that if a person migrated to Pakistan before 1st March 1947, then he shall cease to be a citizen of India under Articles 5 and 6. However, there are certain exceptions, on the basis of the permit for resettlement in India, for a person migrating to India after 1st March 1947, provided he fulfills other necessary conditions for immigrants from Pakistan after 19th July 1948.
According to Article 8, all Persons of Indian Origin, who are residing abroad, except in Pakistan, will continue to remain, Indian Citizens, if either of whose parents or any of grandparents are born in India, defined in the Government of India Act, 1935. Such persons residing outside India will have to be registered as a citizen of India by the Diplomatic or Consular representative.
According to Article 9, if any person, before the commencement of the constitution, voluntarily acquires citizenship of any other country, then he shall not be able to claim citizenship of India under Articles 5, 6, and 8.
Powers of Parliament
Article 10 provides that any person who is a citizen of India will continue to remain the citizen, subject of laws passed by the Parliament. Hence the Parliament may take away the right of citizenship of any person if the parliament makes and express laws regarding the same.
Article 11 grants powers to Parliament, to make laws on the matters of Citizenship. After the commencement of the constitution, the parliament in use of such powers had enacted the Citizenship Act of 1955. Parliament also has the powers to restricts the rights of citizens granted under Articles 5, 6, 7, and 8.
The Constitution of India has not laid down a permanent provision about Citizenship in India. The classes of persons who can be citizens of India is described in Part II of the Constitution. It deals with persons who can be citizens of India at the commencement of the Constitution that is 26th January 1950. and leaves the entire law to be made and regulated by the Parliament of India. In the implementation of such power, the parliament has enacted the Citizenship Act, 1955, which provides for acquisition and termination of Citizenship after the commencement of the Constitution.