All about Citizenship Law in India and New Amendments

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As we all know that the Constitution of India provides certain provisions for citizens and their citizenship for the country. In addition, The Citizenship Act is enacted by the Parliament in 1955 to lay down elaborate procedures for obtaining citizenship. Since then, Citizenship Act [PDF] has been amended several times like in 1986, 1992, 2003, 2005, 2015 and 2019. There are certain modes of acquisition of Citizenship e.g. by Birth, Descent, Registration and Naturalization under respective provisions of the same Act.

Citizenship by birth defined in section 3 of the Citizenship Act, 1955: -
If a person is born in India, he/she have to fulfil certain conditions like, A person must be born in India on or after the 26th day of January 1950 but before 1st July 1987 or before the commencement of the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2003 and either of the parents must be a citizen of India at the time of his birth.

Citizenship by descent defined in Section 4 of the Citizenship Act, 1955: -
According to Section 4, If a person born outside India shall be considered to be a citizen of India when he/she is born on or after the 26th day of January 1950, but before the 10th day of December 1992 if his father is a citizen of India or if either of his parents is a citizen of India at the time of his birth.

Citizenship by registration defined in Section 5 of the Citizenship Act, 1955: -
If a person wants to take registrations in the Citizenship Act, he or she must follow certain conditions: -
(a)   If a person of Indian origin applying for registration, he/she must be ordinarily resident in India for seven years.
(b)   If a person married to a citizen of India and applying for registration, he/she must be ordinarily resident for seven-year in India.
(c)   Minor children of persons who are citizens of India.
(d)   A person of full age, either of his parents, was earlier citizen of independent India and has been residing in India for one year before applying for registration.
(e)   A person of full age who has been registered as an overseas citizen of India for five years, and who has been residing in India for one year before the application for registration.

Citizenship by Naturalization defined in Section 6 of the Citizenship Act, 1955: -
Under this section of the Act, Naturalization can be acquired by a Foreigner (not illegal migrant) who is ordinarily resident in India for 12 years and must be qualified in the Third Schedule to the Act.

(a)   Section 2(1)(b) - Illegal migrant means a foreigner who has been entered in India without a valid passport or any other travel documents.
(b)   Section 7D - the Overseas Citizen of India Cardholder has, within five years after registration under sub-section (1) of section 7A, been sentenced to imprisonment for a term of not less than two years; or

(a)   There is an insertion in Section 2 of the Act is that - If any person belonging to Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, Parsi or Christian community from Afghanistan, Bangladesh or Pakistan, who entered into India on or before the 31st day of December 2014 and who has been exempted by the Central Government by or under clause (c) of sub-section (2) of section 3 of the Passport (Entry into India) Act, 1920 or from the application of the provisions of the Foreigners Act, 1946 or any rule or order made thereunder, shall not be treated as an illegal migrant for the purposes of this Act.
(b)   There is an insertion of new Section 6B after Section 6A is that - (i) The qualifications for naturalization under the provisions of the Third Schedule is that a person granted the certificate of registration of naturalization shall be deemed to be a citizen of India from the date of his entry into India.
(ii) From the date of commencement of the Citizenship Act, 2019, if there is any proceeding pending against a person under this section in respect of illegal migration or citizenship shall stand abated on conferment of citizenship to him: -
 Any person shall not be disqualified for making an application for citizenship under this section on the ground that the proceeding is pending against him and the Central Government or authority specified by it in this behalf shall not reject his application on that ground if he is otherwise found qualified for a grant of citizenship under this section
 Provided further that the person who makes the application for citizenship under this section shall not be deprived of his rights and privileges to which he was entitled on the date of receipt of his application on the ground of making such an application.
(c) Amendment of Section 7D
(i) the Overseas Citizen of India Cardholder has violated any of the provisions of this Act or provisions of any other law for the time being in force as may be specified by the Central Government in the notification published in the Official Gazette;
(ii) No order under this section shall be passed unless the Overseas Citizen of India the cardholder has been given a reasonable opportunity of being heard.

(d) Amendment of Section 18(2) (eei) - the conditions, restrictions and manner for granting a certificate of registration or certificate of naturalization.
(e)   There is an amendment in the Third Schedule - the person belonging to Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, Parsi or The Christian community in Afghanistan, Bangladesh or Pakistan, the aggregate period of residence or service of Government in India as required under this clause shall be read as "not less than five years" in place of "not less than eleven years".

About the Author: - Ms. Nistha Panwar is a law student at Maharishi Law School, Maharishi University of Information Technology, Noida. She can be reached at- [email protected] . alert-info

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