The Population of a State is divided into 2 classes – Citizens and Aliens.
- Citizens enjoy full civil and political rights, aliens do not enjoy all of them.
- Citizens are the member of the political community to which they belong. They are the people who composed the State.
- Aliens are further classified as friendly alien or enemy alien.
- Alien enemy includes not only subjects of a State at war with India but also Indian citizens who voluntarily reside in or trade with such a State.
According to Article11, Parliament is empowered to regulate citizenship by making a law.
Subsequently, Parliament enacted citizenship act, 1955, this act was amended a number of times in – 1986, 2003, 2005 etc.
Citizenship Amendment Act 1955
According to citizenship amendment act, 1955 and subsequent amendments, Indian citizenship can be acquired on any of the following 5 grounds:
1. By Birth –
A person born in the territory of India can be considered as Indian Citizen, only if at the time of its birth, either of the parent is a citizen of India.
2. By Descent –
A person born outside the territory of India, can be given Indian citizenship only if at the time of his birth, either of the parent is a citizen of India (Hereditary Citizenship).
3. By Registration –
Under these following categories of persons can apply for Indian Citizenship:
- Minor children of Indian citizen born outside India and got citizenship of that country.
- A female belonging to foreign country and married to Indian man can apply for Indian citizenship after 7 years of residency in India. (Earlier it was 6 months).
- By citizenship amendment Act, 1986, it was extended to male also belong to the foreign country and married to Indian female. Presently the condition is after 7 years of residency in India he can apply for Indian Citizenship.
4. By Naturalization –
Any foreigner can apply for Indian Citizenship without marrying Indian citizen, if foregoing conditions are to be fulfilled:
- He must belong to the country, where similar provisions given for Indian citizen.
- He can apply for certificate of naturalization only after 12 years and valid residency in India. (For commonwealth countries citizen it is still 5 years)
- He must have good moral character.
- Working knowledge of Indian language s essential.
5. By Incorporation of Territory –
If any foreign territory is acquired by India, the citizens belong to that category automatically becomes citizens of India – Goa, Sikkim.
A person may lose its Indian Citizenship on any of the following grounds:
a) Renunciation – If any citizen acquires citizenship of any foreign country, he is required to surrender Indian Citizenship in fact, renunciation means voluntary surrender by doing this its Indian Citizenship is lost.
b) Termination – It is a legal act. After getting citizenship of any other country, if Indian citizen doesn’t surrender Indian citizenship then its Indian citizenship is terminated by legal action of government.
c) Deprivation – If any person gets Indian citizenship by fraudulent means or by misrepresentation of facts, then he is deprived of Indian citizenship and man be deported to its own country or legal action can be taken against it.
Citizens vs Aliens Rights
Citizens of India have the following rights, which aliens do not have:
- Some of the Fundamental Rights belong to citizens alone, such as – Articles 15, 16, 19.
- Only citizens can have the following offices:
- The President
- Judge of the Supreme Court or of a High Court
- Governor of a State
- Advocate General
- The right of suffrage for election to the Lok Sabha (House of the People) and Vidhan Sabha (Legislative Assembly) are also confined to citizens.
- Enemy aliens suffers from a special disability; they are not entitled to the benefit of the procedural provisions in Clause (1) – (2) of Article 22, related to arrest and detention.
Citizenship Amendment Act 1986
To make Indian citizenship difficult for illegal migrants from neighboring countries, Indian citizenship Act was amended in 1986, following are the important provisions:
a) The person born in territory of India on or after 26 January 1950 and before commencement of this act in 1986, or a person born in the territory of India on or after commencement of this act in 1986, shall be considered as Indian citizen only if at the time of his birth either of a parent is a citizen of India.
b) A female married to Indian male can applied for Indian citizenship under registration only after 5 years of residency in India earlier it was 6 months.
c) This act also extended Indian citizenship to any male belong to foreign country married to Indian citizen and wants Indian citizenship can get it after 5 years of residency in India.
This act increases the time period for a foreigner belong to non-commonwealth country who applied for citizenship under naturalization only after 10 years of residency in India (earlier it was 5 years) for commonwealth and non-commonwealth countries in India.
Citizenship Amendment Act 2003
This act provides for-
a) Dual Citizenship
b) Compulsory registration for Indian citizen. According to this act the persons of Indian origin residing in 16 countries and acquired citizenship of those countries can apply for additional Indian Citizenship (Dual Citizenship) these countries are – Australia, Canada, Finland, France, Italy, New Zealand, Netherland, Portugal, Cyprus, USA, UK, Greece, Ireland, Sweden, Switzerland, Israel.
Dual citizenship has 3 limitations:
a) There shall be no right to vote.
b) They can’t hold any constitutional positions in India.
c) This act provides for a National Identity Card for these dual citizens.