(Last Updated on : 15/04/2009)
The Indian Constitution, which came into force on 26th January 1950 provides for single citizenship for the entire country. Matters concerning Indian citizenship are contained in Articles 5 to 11 in Part II of the constitution of India. The law states that any person born in India on or after 26th January but before the commencement of the 1986 Act was a citizen of India. A person born in India after 1 July 1987 was a citizen of India if one of the two parents was a citizen of India at the time of birth. The law further states that those born in India on or after 3rd December 2004 are considered citizens of India only if both of their parents are citizens of India or if one parent is a citizen of India and the other is not an illegal migrant at the time of birth.
Under the category of citizenship by descent any person born outside India on or after 26 January but before 10 December 1992 are citizens of India by descent only if their father was a citizen of India at the time of their birth. Those born after 10 December 1992 are considered citizens of India if either of their parents is a citizen of India at the time of their birth. However, according to the Citizenship (Amendment) Act 2003, any person born outside India after 3, December 2004, shall not be considered citizens of India unless their birth is registered at an Indian consulate within one year of the date of birth.
The Indian Constitution also provides the provision where by an application a person can be registered as a citizen of India under section 5 of the Citizenship Act 1955 if he belongs to any of these categories.
According to Indian Constitution there are few points:
A person of Indian origin who is ordinarily resident in 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;
Minor children of persons who are citizens of India;
A person of full age and capacity whose parents are registered as citizens of India by ordinary residence in India for seven years;
A person of full age and capacity who, or either of his parents, was earlier citizen of independent India, and has been residing in India for one year immediately before making an application for registration;
A person of full age and capacity who has been registered as an overseas citizen of India for five years, and who has been residing in India for one year before making an application for registration.
Citizenship by naturalisation can be acquired by a foreigner who has resided in India for twelve years. The applicant must have lived in India for eleven years in a period of fourteen years. Added to this is the point that the last twelve months preceding the application must be spent in India.
Giving up of Indian citizenship or renuncation is covered in Section 8 of the Citizenship Act of 1955. If an adult declares that he/ she wants to renounce Indian citizenship, then the person loses it. A minor child of that person also loses Indian citizenship from that date of renunciation. However the child has the right to resume Indian citizenship when he reaches the age of eighteen.Termination of Indian citizenship is covered under Section 9 of the Citizenship Act, 1955. Section 9 (1) of the Act provides that any citizen of India who acquires the citizenship of another country by naturalisation or registration shall cease to be a citizen of India.
In India there now exists the provision for a new form of Indian nationality, the holders of which are known as Overseas Citizens of India. Although the Constitution of India does not permit dual citizenship or dual nationality except in the case of minors where the second nationality was involuntarily acquired.An Overseas Citizen of India will enjoy all rights and privileges enjoyed by Non Resident Indians, excluding the "right to invest in agriculture and plantation properties".