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Indian Polity / Citizenship

Citizenship of India in Indian Constitution

Articles 5 to 11 of Indian Constitution along with Indian Citizenship Act, 1955 deal with Citizenship of India. In Indian Constitution, there are no clear-cut methods outlined for acquiring or terminating the citizenship in India. Parliament has the authority to decide on various methods of acquiring and losing citizenship in India.

Citizenship of India

  • At the time of beginning of the Constitution on 26th January, 1956, the following individuals became citizens of India

    • Individuals, who were domiciled in India

    • Individuals, who had migrated from Pakistan

    • Individuals, who had migrated to Pakistan but later returned back to India

    • Indian origin individuals but residing outside India

  • Though India has a federal structure, it has only single citizenship, that is citizenship of India. For the employment under the Union, there will not be any qualification of residence within any particular region.

    But for the employment under any State or Union Territory, residence within that region shall be a required qualification.

  • Some fundamental rights are accessible exclusively for the citizens of India. Some fundamental rights are available to both Indians as well as foreigners, who are in India like Right to Equality before law, Right to Freedom of Religion, Right against Exploitation, etc.

  • Only Indian citizens are entitled for certain offices like the President, Vice President, Governor of State, Attorney General, Advocate General of State, etc.

  • Only Indian citizens are entitled to vote in the Lok Sabha and Assembly elections. Even the members of the Parliament and State Legislatures should be citizens of India.

Overseas Citizenship of India (OCI)

  • Persons of Indian Origin (PIO), who have migrated from India after 26th January, 1950, can have an Overseas Citizenship of India (OCI) status provided their home countries, under their laws, allow dual citizenship. This facility is not available to PIOs of Bangladesh and Pakistan.

  • Under OCI status, the following facilities are available -

    • PIOs are exempted from registration with Foreign Registration Officer for any duration of stay within India

    • They can have multi-purpose, multiple entry and lifelong visas to visit India

    • They can have parity with non-resident Indians (NRI) with regard to all the facilities in economic, educational and financial fields but they are not allowed in acquisition of agricultural / plantation properties