Part II of Indian Constitution is about Citizenship. It includes articles from 5- 11.The population of any state can be broadly divided into two categories-citizen and aliens (non-citizen).Citizens are different from aliens in so far they enjoy full civil and political rights.The Constitution of India provides for single citizenship,there is no separate citizenship for state (as United States of America has).According to the Constitution,the following four categories of persons are entitled to citizenship.


Persons domiciled in India and also fulfilled any one of the three conditions, viz. if he was born in India; or if either of his parents was born in India; or if he has been ordinarily resident in India for five years immediately before the commencement of the Constitution.
A person who migrated to India from Pakistan and became an Indian citizen.If he or either of his grandparents was born in undivided India.
A person who migrated to Pakistan from India after March 1,1947.
A person who or any of whose parents or grandparents, was born in undivided India but who is ordinarily residing outside India.
The Constitution confers some rights and privileges to the citizen of India and denies the same to aliens (non-citizens).
  1. Right against Discrimination (Article 15).
  2. Right to Equality of Opportunity (Article 16).
  3. Right to Freedom (Article 19).
  4. Cultural and Educational Right to Contest for the membership of the Parliament and the State Legislative Assemblies.
Only a citizen can hold or run for the following high offices-President, Vice -President, Judges of the Supreme Court and High Courts,Attorney-General, Governors of States Advocate General of States.


Article 11 of the Constitution empowers the Parliament to enact a law relating to the citizenship.According, the Parliament has enacted the Citizenship Act,1955,which has been amended in 1956 and 1992.The act provides a law for acquisition and termination of citizenship.


The act prescribes five following ways of acquiring citizenship.
By Birth A person born in India on or after 26th January,1950,shall be a citizen of India by law of soil.
By Descent A person born outside India, on or after 26th January 1950,in a citizen of India by descent if his parents were citizens of India at the time of his birth, i.e., law of blood.
By Registration The Central Government may, on an application, register as a citizen of India.This mode of acquiring citizenship is available to any of the following categories.
  1. persons of Indian origin who are ordinarily resident in India for 7 years,immediately before making an application for registration.
  2. persons of India origin who are ordinarily resident in any county or place outside India.
  3. a persons who is married to a citizen of India and is ordinarily resident in India for 7 years before making an application of registration.
  4. minor children of persons who are citizens of India.
  5. persons of full age and capacity whose parents are registered as citizens of India .
  6. a person of full age and capacity,who or either of his parents,was earlier citizens of Independent India,and has been residing in India for 1 year immediately before making an application for registration.
  7. a person of full age and capacity who has been registered as an overseas citizen of India for 5 years, and who has been residing in India for 1 year before making an application for registration.

By Naturalization Citizenship 

can be acquired by naturalization by making an application, if he possesses following qualifications.
  1. person of full age and capacity.
  2. must not be citizen of a country where Indian citizens are prevented from becoming citizens by naturalization.
  3. has renounced the citizenship of the other country.
  4. has either resided in India or has been in the government service 12 months.
  5. must take and oath of allegiance.
  6. of a good character.
  7. has an adequate knowledge of a language recognized by the Constitution.

By Incorporation of Territory 

If any foreign territory becomes a part of India, the Government of India specifies that the persons who are among the people of the territory shall be the citizens of India.e.g., when Pondicherry became a part of India,Government of India issued notice for the citizenship.


The Citizenship Act,1955 also lays down three modes by which an Indian citizen may lose his citizenship.
By Renunciation Any citizen of India of full age and capacity can make a declaration renouncing his Indian citizenship.
By Termination  When and Indian citizen voluntarily acquires the citizenship of another country, his Indian citizenship automatically terminates.
By Deprivation Any citizen who has obtained the citizenship by fraud or has shown disloyalty to the Constitution of India,etc will compulsory terminate his Indian citizenship by the Government of India.


Person of Indian Origin Card was launched in 1999 and Government of India revised it in August 2002.
Any person,who at any time,held an Indian passport or either of his parents or grand parents or great grand parents were born in and were permanently residents in India.
All nationals except Afghanistan,Bangladesh,Bhutan,China,Nepal,Pakistan and Sri Lanka are eligible for PIO Card.
PIO Card holder can visit India without visa for 15 years from the date of issue.


OCI is commonly know as Dual Citizenship, the scheme is operational from December 2005.
A foreign national who,(i) was eligible to become a citizen of India on 26-01-1950.or (ii) was a citizen of India on or at any time after 26-01-1950 or (iii) belonged to a territory that became a part of India after 15-08-1947 or (iv) his children or grand children or (v) minor children of such children.
PIOs fo all countries and nationals except Pakistan and Bangladesh can obtained OCI.
Those who have OCI can visit India without visa life long.

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