Indian Constitution provides certain fundamental rights to its citizens. Aliens do not enjoy many of these rights. Citizenship carries with it certain advantages conferred by the Constitution. Aliens are bereft of those advantages as are available to the citizens.
Further, only Indian citizens are entitled to cast vote in the elections of the members of Lok Sabha and Vidhan Sabha. They are entitled to contest for a seat in general elections of the Parliament and State Assemblies.
How Indian Citizenship is Acquired?
The Constitution does not contain extensive provisions regarding citizenship. It lays down certain rules relating to citizenship. These provisions of the Constitution States the classes of persons who are, or who may be deemed to be Indian citizens at the commencement of the Constitution.
As regard other things, it provides that Parliament may by law make provisions with respect to the acquisition and termination of citizenship and all matters relating to citizenship. Under Indian Citizenship Act, 1955, provisions relating to determination of citizenship of India, has been provided. According to this Act, following persons are treated citizens of India at the commencement of the Constitution.
(1) Citizenship by Domicile:
Article 5 provides that a person who satisfies the following two conditions is entitled to citizenship at the commencement of the Constitution:
(i) One who had domiciled In India, and
(ii) One who was born in India or either of his parents was born in India or such person has been ordinary resident in the territory of India for not less than five years immediately before the commencement of the Constitution.
Domicile is an essential element for determining the citizen of the country. The term, domicile, has nowhere been defined in the Constitution. In Mohammad Raza v. State of Bombay, AIR 1956 S.C. 1436, the Supreme Court has held that the term domicile means a permanent house or place where the person concerned resides with the intention of remaining for an indefinite period.
In this case the petitioner had been frequently coming and going to different countries from India since 1938. He had not acquired Indian citizenship because he did not have a domicile In India. His application for extending his stay in India from time to time had fortified his conclusion.
The Court held that he had not acquired Indian citizenship through domicile. In Pradeep Jain v. Union of India, (1984) 3 S.C.C. 654, it was held that the domicile of a person is in that country in which he either has or is deemed by law to have his permanent house.
Domicile is of two kinds, le„ domicile of origin and domicile of choice. The former is acquired by the individual by birth and the latter is acquired by the individual by residence in a territory with the intention to reside there permanently. Article 5 recognizes only one domicile, i.e., domicile of India.
(2) Citizenship of migrants of Pakistan:
Article 7 provides that notwithstanding anything in Articles 5 and 6, a person who has migrated to Pakistan after March, 1947 shall not be deemed to be a citizen of India. Thus, a citizen by domicile under Article 5 and a Pakistani migrant to India under Article 6 ceases to be a citizen of India if he has migrated to Pakistan after March, 1947.
But a person who has returned to India under a permit for resettlement or permanent return issued by or under the authority of any law is entitled to become citizen of India if he fulfils other conditions necessary for immigrants from Pakistan after July, 1948 under Article 6. He can get himself registered as a citizen of India in the form and manner prescribed by the Government of India.
(3) Citizenship of India abroad:
According to Article 8, a person residing outside India shall be deemed to be a citizen of India if he fulfills the following two conditions:
(i) He or either of his parents or any of his grandparents must have been born in undivided India, and (ii) He must have been registered as a citizen of India by the diplomatic or consular representatives of India in the country where he is for the time being residing on an application made to such representative in the prescribed form and manner.
According to Article 9, no person shall be a citizen of India by virtue of Articles 5, 6 and 8 if he lias voluntarily acquired the citizenship of a foreign State. Article 9 provides in this respect that if a person voluntarily acquires citizenship of any foreign State, he shall not be able to claim citizenship of India under Articles 5, 6 and 8 unless he voluntarily acquired citizenship of a foreign State before the coming of the Constitution into force.
Article 10 provides that every person who is or is deemed to be a citizen of India under any of the foregoing provisions shall continue to be a citizen of India, subject however, to the provisions of any law made by the Parliament. Thus, in exercise of this power, Parliament can take away the right of citizenship of any person.