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Six lakh Indians renounced citizenship

Context:

More than six lakh Indians renounced citizenship in the past five years, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) informed the Lok Sabha. In 2021, till September 30, 1,11,287 Indians gave up their citizenship.

Relevance:

GS-II: Polity and Constitution (Constitutional Provisions, Citizenship)

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. Citizenship in India
  2. Constitutional Provisions about Indian Citizenship
  3. Citizenship Act 1955
  4. Renunciation of Indian Citizenship
  5. Termination
  6. Deprivation

Citizenship in India

  • Citizenship is in the Union List under the Constitution and thus under the exclusive jurisdiction of Parliament.
  • The Constitution does not define the term ‘citizen’ but gives, in Articles 5 to 11, details of various categories of persons who are entitled to citizenship.
  • Unlike other provisions of the Constitution, which came into being on January 26, 1950, these articles were enforced on November 26, 1949 itself, when the Constitution was adopted.

Constitutional Provisions about Indian Citizenship

Article 5

  • It provided for citizenship on the commencement of the Constitution.
  • All those domiciled and born in India were given citizenship.
  • Even those who were domiciled but not born in India, but either of whose parents was born in India, were considered citizens.
  • Anyone who had been an ordinary resident for more than five years, too, was entitled to apply for citizenship.

Article 6

  • Since Independence was preceded by Partition and migration, Article 6 laid down that anyone who migrated to India before July 19, 1949, would automatically become an Indian citizen if either of his parents or grandparents was born in India.
  • But those who entered India after this date needed to register themselves.

Article 7

  • Even those who had migrated to Pakistan after March 1, 1947 but subsequently returned on resettlement permits were included within the citizenship net.
  • The law was more sympathetic to those who migrated from Pakistan and called them refugees than to those who, in a state of confusion, were stranded in Pakistan or went there but decided to return soon.

Article 8

  • Any Person of Indian Origin residing outside India who, or either of whose parents or grandparents, was born in India could register himself or herself as an Indian citizen with Indian Diplomatic Mission.

Citizenship Act 1955

  • The Citizenship Act, 1955 empowers the government to determine the citizenship of persons in whose case it is in doubt. It was passed according to Article 11 – Parliament can go against the citizenship provisions of the Constitution.
  • However, over the decades, Parliament has narrowed down the wider and universal principles of citizenship based on the fact of birth.
  • Moreover, the Foreigners Act places a heavy burden on the individual to prove that he is not a foreigner.

Acquisition of Indian Citizenship according to the Citizenship Act

  • The Citizenship Act of 1955 prescribes five ways of acquiring citizenship, viz, birth, descent, registration, naturalisation and incorporation of territory.

Losing of Indian Citizenship

  • The Citizenship Act, 1955 also lays down the three modes by which an Indian citizen may lose his/her citizenship.
  • It may happen in any of the three ways: renunciation, termination and deprivation.

Renunciation of Indian Citizenship

Voluntary Renunciation

  • If an Indian citizen wishes, who is of full age and capacity, he can relinquish citizenship of India by his will.
  • When a person relinquishes his citizenship, every minor child of that person also loses Indian citizenship. However, when such a child attains the age of 18, he may resume Indian citizenship.

By Termination

  • The Constitution of India provides single citizenship. It means an Indian person can only be a citizen of one country at a time.
  • If a person takes the citizenship of another country, then his Indian citizenship ends automatically. However, this provision does not apply when India is busy in war.

Deprivation by Government

  • The Government of India may terminate the citizenship of an Indian citizen if:
    • The citizen has disrespected the Constitution.
    • Has obtained citizenship by fraud.
    • The citizen has unlawfully traded or communicated with the enemy during a war.
    • Within 5 years of registration or naturalisation, a citizen has been sentenced to 2 years of imprisonment in any country.
    • The citizen has been living outside India for 7 years continuously.

Termination

  • If a citizen of India voluntarily acquires the citizenship of another country, he shall cease to be a citizen of India.
  • During the war period, this provision does not apply to a citizen of India, who acquires the citizenship of another country in which India may be engaged voluntarily.

Deprivation

  • Deprivation is a compulsory termination of citizenship of India.
  • A citizen of India by naturalization, registration, domicile and residence, may be deprived of his citizenship by an order of the Central Government if it is satisfied that the Citizen has:
    1. Obtained the citizenship by means of fraud, false representation or concealment of any material fact
    2. Shown disloyalty to the Constitution of India
    3. Unlawfully traded or communicated with the enemy during a war
    4. Within five years after registration or neutralization, been imprisoned in any country for two years
    5. Ordinarily resident out of India for seven years continuously

-Source: The Hindu

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