The Constitution of India provides for a single and uniform citizenship for the whole of India.
Articles 5 to 11 under part II of the Constitution deals with the citizenship.
Citizenship Act of 1955
The Citizenship Act of 1955 provides for acquisition and loss of citizenship after the commencement of the Constitution. This Act has been amended so far eight times. Originally, the Citizenship Act (1955) also provided for the commonwealth Citizenship. But, this provision was repealed by the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2003.
Acquisition of Citizenship
The Citizenship Act of 1955 prescribes five ways of acquiring citizenship, viz, birth, descent, registration, naturalisation and incorporation of territory:
According to the Citizenship Act, 1955, the citizenship could be acquired through any of the following methods.
- By Birth: All persons born in India on or after January 26, 1950 are treated as citizens by birth.
- By Descent: A person born outside India on or after January 26, 1950 shall be a citizen of India by descent, if his father is a citizen of India at the time of his birth.
- By Registration: A person can acquire citizenship of India by registration with appropriate authority.
- By Naturalisation: A foreigners can acquire Indian citizenship, on application for naturalization to the Government of India.
- By Incorporation of Territory: In the event of a certain territory being added to the territory of India, the Government of India shall specify the persons of that territory who shall be citizen of India.
Loss of Citizenship
The Citizenship Act of 1955 prescribes three ways of losing citizenship whether acquired under the Act or prior to it under the Constitution, viz, renunciation, termination and deprivation.
- It can be voluntarily renounced by a citizen.
- It can be terminated if a person acquires the citizenship of some other country.
- The central government can deprive a naturalized citizen, if it satisfied that the citizenship was acquired by fraud, false representation or concealment of material facts or indulges in trade with enemy countries or if the person has been sentenced to imprisonment for a period of 2 years.