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Citizenship

By – Saman Rahman

Citizenship is defined in part 2 from article 5-11 of the Constitution of India. However, the word “citizenship” is not defined in the constitution but the method for acquiring or renouncing citizenship has been explained in article 5-11 of the Constitution.

Article 5 – Citizenship by domicile

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Article 5 states that every person domiciled in India at the commencement of the Constitution shall be the citizen of India if he fulfils the following conditions.

a) He was born in India; or

b) Either if whose parents were born in India; or

c) Who has been ordinarily resident in the territory of India for not less than 5 years immediately preceding such commencement?

In order to constitute domicile residence must be indefinite and the intention to reside at one place.

Domicile can be of two types –

1. Domicile of origin

2. Domicile of choice

India constitution grants single citizenship i.e. domicile of India and there is no state domicile[1]. In Sonder Gopal v. Sondur Rajini (2013), it was held that in domicile of choice mere acquisition of other domicile is not sufficient. There must be a clear intention to abandon the domicile of origin.

Article 6- Migration of citizens from India to Pakistan

Article 6(a) states that a person shall be deemed to be the citizen of India on date of commencement of Constitution if he or either of his parents or grand-parents was born in India as defined in Government of India Act 1935.

Article 6(b) lays down two conditions-

1. Those who came to India before 19th July 1948 – In this case he must ordinarily be resident of India since the date of migration.

2. Those who came on or after 19th July 1948 – In this case, he must be registered as the citizen of India by an officer appointed by the government of India. For this purpose he must be residing in India 6 months immediately before the date of application.

If both the above-mentioned condition is satisfied then he shall be deemed to be a citizen of India.

Article 7 – Citizenship to migrants of Pakistan

This article states that a person will cease to be a citizen of India if he migrates to Pakistan after 1st March 1947. If this condition satisfies, the citizenship acquired under article 5 and 6 will come to end.

If the person so migrated returns back on the basis of permit of resettlement or permanent return he shall be deemed to be migrated to the territory of India and the condition mentioned under 6(b) shall be applicable.

In Bhawan Kumar v. UOI (2002) Supreme Court recognized that those who had voluntarily migrated to Pakistan and became Pakistani citizen, cannot return to India.

Article 8 – Citizenship to person of India origin residing outside India

This article states that if a person whose either parents or grand-parents was born in India as defined in Government of India Act 1935 and the person is ordinarily residing in any other country shall be deemed to be a citizen of India if he has been registered as a citizen of India by Diplomatic or Consular Representative of India in that country.

Article 9 – Voluntarily acquirement of citizenship

This article states that if a person acquires foreign citizenship he shall not be able to claim citizenship under article 5, 6 or 8.

Can a company or corporation claim citizenship?

A company has a legal personality but not a natural personality. And the article dealing with the process of acquiring citizenship deals with citizenship of a natural person. In-State Trading Corporation v. Commercial Tax Office (1963) Supreme Court held that a company is not a citizen of India and therefore cannot claim fundamental rights granted to only the citizens of India

[1] Pradeep Jain v. UOI(1984)

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