Citizenship Act and its amendments

Citizenship Act and its amendments

The Citizenship Act, 1955 and its amendments set the rules for obtaining and renouncing citizenship in India.

Citizenship Act and its amendments

The Citizenship Act, 1955 and its amendments set the rules for obtaining and renouncing citizenship in India. The Constitution also grants citizenship rights to people of Indian origin, non-resident Indians, and citizens of India living abroad.

Having complete access to the civil and political liberties that come with being a member of a state or community is what we mean when we use the term "citizenship." It can be described as a contract between an individual and a particular state, one that is expressed through an individual's declaration of loyalty to that state and through the fulfillment of duties like paying taxes, enlisting in the military when required, upholding national ideals and values, etc.

Constitutional Provisions for Citizenship

Through Article 11, the Constituent Assembly included a generalized provision allowing the Parliament to enact laws governing citizenship. However, when it ratified the Constitution, it also implemented Part 2 of the Constitution for Citizenship, which is covered in Articles 5 to 11. It is stated as follows:

Article 5 states that “every person” who has a domicile in the territory of India and:

  • Who was born in the territory of India or
  • Either of whose parents were born in the territory of India or
  • Who has been ordinarily resident in the territory of India for not less than 5 years immediately preceding such commencement shall be a citizen of India

Article 6: At the start of this Constitution, certain individuals with citizenship rights who migrated to India from the area now occupied by Pakistan will be treated as Indian citizens.

Article 7: For people who migrated to Pakistan after March 1, 1947, but later returned to India, there is a special provision for their citizenship rights.


According to Article 8, certain people of Indian descent who live outside of India for the purposes of employment, education, and marriage have certain citizenship rights.

Article 9: Individuals who voluntarily become citizens of a foreign state are not considered Indian citizens.

Article 10: Any person who is an Indian citizen in accordance with any of the provisions of this part is subject to any laws passed by the Parliament.

Citizenship Act of 1955 and its Amendments

  • Citizenship Act of 1955 deals with the acquisition and termination of citizenship after the commencement of the Constitution. The provisions under it include:
  • Except for the children of diplomats and enemy aliens, no one born in India after January 26, 1950, can be a citizen of India by birth.
  • Any person born after January 26, 1950, would be eligible to become an Indian citizen, subject to certain conditions. For example, either parent (mother or father) must be an Indian citizen.
  • By registering in the required way, certain categories of citizens may obtain citizenship.
  • Naturalization is a process by which foreigners can also become citizens of India.
  • The conditions for any territory becoming a part of India may be set forth by the Indian government.
  • Termination, renunciation, or deprivation on specific grounds could result in the loss of citizenship.


  • The Citizenship (Amendment) Act of 1986: The Assam state citizenship is specifically covered by this act. It mentions that in order for illegal immigrants to obtain citizenship, they must register in the required manner with the Indian consulate.
  • The Citizenship (Amendment) Act of 1992: As long as one of the parents was an Indian citizen at the time of the child's birth, this Act states that anyone born outside of India is regarded as a citizen of India by virtue of Citizenship by Descent.
  • The Citizenship (Amendment) Act of 2003: For overseas citizens' registration, rights in India, and other matters, this Act introduces a number of provisions.
  • The Citizenship (Amendment) Act of 2005: The recommendations of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Home Affairs served as the basis for this Act. It allows PIO from 16 different countries to have dual citizenship.

Modes of acquisition of Citizenship

    • By birth: In accordance with the amendments in effect at the time, the grant of citizenship under this clause is subject to modification.
    • By registration: Citizenship can be acquired by registering.
    • By Descent: Similar to citizenship by descent, this provision was also subjected to changes from time to time.


  • By naturalization.
  • By incorporation of territory.


Loss of Citizenship in India

In addition to dealing with citizenship acquisition, the Citizenship Act of 1955 also addresses citizenship loss. Accordingly, it is carried by the following means:

    • By renunciation: Anyone who has publicly expressed a desire to renounce their citizenship must do so within one year of making the declaration.
    • By termination: If a person knowingly or willingly acquires citizenship in any foreign nation.


  • By deprivation.


Overseas Citizen of India (OCI)

According to the Citizenship (Amendment) Act of 2003, an overseas citizen of India includes a person:

  • Of Indian origin, being a citizen of a specified country.
  • Was citizen of India who became a citizen of another country and was registered as OCI by the central government.

Non-Resident Indian

A citizen of India with an Indian passport who temporarily emigrated to another nation for work, school, or any other reason is known as an NRI.

Persons of Indian Origin

A PIO is a person of Indian descent whose parents or grandparents are Indian citizens but who is not an Indian citizen and is instead a citizen of another country.

Citizenship is a key concept in a democratic polity because it is crucial to the functioning of a democratic nation-state.

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