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  • What is citizenship?
  • What does constitution say about citizenship?
  • Special rights enjoyed by citizens
  • Legislations in this regard
  • Termination of citizenship
  • What are OCI and PIO?
  • Merger of OCI and PIO
  • Other changes to citizenship provisions
  • Legislation to give citizenship to minorities
  • Bill to amend citizenship act, 1955

What is citizenship?

Citizenship is the status of a person recognized under the custom or law as being a member of a country. A person may have multiple citizenships and a person who does not have citizenship of any state is said to be stateless.

What does constitution say about citizenship?

The provisions of citizenship are covered by Articles 5 to 11 and are embodied in Part II of the Constitution.

 

  • Article 5 refers to citizenship not in any general sense but to citizenship on the date of the commencement of the Constitution.
  • Articles 6 and 7 deal with two categories of persons, namely, those who were resi­dents in India but had migrated to Pakistan and those who were residents in Pakistan but migrated to India.
  • Article 8 deals with Rights of citizenship of certain persons of Indian origin residing outside India
  • Under Article 9 of the Constitution, and person who voluntarily acquires the citizenship of any foreign State, even if qualified for Indian citizenship under any provision of the Constitution, may not be a citizen of India.
  • Article 10 says that every person who is or is deemed to be a citizen of India under any of the foregoing provisions of this Part shall, subject to the provisions of any law that may be made by Parliament, continue to be such citizen.
  • Article 11 deals with power of Parliament to regulate the right of citizenship by law and states that nothing in the foregoing provisions of this Part shall derogate from the power of Parliament to make any provision with respect to the acquisition and termination of citizenship and all other matters relating to citizenship.

Special rights enjoyed by citizens

Fundamental Rights provided in Indian constitution are available to citizens of India only; some of the fundamental rights which are not enjoyed by a non-citizen of India are:

  • Right to be discriminated on the basis of religion, race, sex, cast or birth of place
  • Equal opportunities in public employment
  • Right of six democratic freedoms (Article 19) + Cultural & educational rights

Only citizens of India have the right:

  • To hold civil office
  • Right to vote
  • Right to be judges of courts

Again, citizens alone have the right to hold certain high offices such as those of the President, Vice-President, Governor of a State, Judge of Supreme Court and High Courts, Attorney General, etc. the right to vote to elect a member of the Lok Sabha and a Vidhan Sabha and the right to become a Member of the Parliament and a State Legislature are reserved for citizens only.

Legislations in this regard

The legislation related to this matter is the Citizenship Act 1955, which has been amended by the Citizenship (Amendment) Act 1986, the Citizenship (Amendment) Act 1992, the Citizenship (Amendment) Act 2003, and the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2005.

 

  • Acquisition of Indian Citizenship as per Citizenship Act 1955: Indian Citizenship can be acquired under the following ways:
  1. Citizenship at the commencement of the constitution of India
  2. Citizenship by birth
  3. Citizenship by descent
  4. Citizenship by registration
  5. Citizenship by naturalization.

Termination of Indian Citizenship as per Citizenship Act 1955: One can lose citizenship of India in 3 ways – Renunciation, Termination and Deprivation

There are 3 situations under which a citizen of India may lose his Indian Nationality.

  • By Renunciation: If any citizen of India who is also a national of another country renounces his Indian citizenship through a declaration in the prescribed manner, he ceases to be an Indian citizen of registration of such declaration.
  • By Termination: Any person who acquired Indian citizenship by naturalisation, registration or otherwise,, of he or she voluntarily acquired the citizenship of another country he shall have ceased to be a citizen of India from the date of such acquisition.
  • By Deprivation: The Central Government is empowered to deprive a citizen of his citizenship by possible grounds of a citizenship certificate by means of fraud, false representation, concealment of any material fact; disloyalty of disaffection towards the Constitution shown by act or speech; assisting an enemy with whom India is at war.

What are OCI and PIO?

source

Merger of OCI and PIO and how it will help

The government has decided to merge the two cards of PIO and OCI and go ahead in this direction.

  • Merging PIO and OCI will lead to simplification of the rules under a single umbrella.
  • It was envisaged that merger of the card would facilitate visa-free travel to India, rights of residency and participation in business and educational activities in the country.
  • This is aimed at simplifying the visa-free entry for people of Indian origin into India.
  • The merger of the two cards could make PIO cardholders eligible for benefits already enjoyed by OCI cardholders.
  • Merging of the two cards will facilitate travel of Indians staying abroad and their participation in various activities in India.

Other changes to citizenship provisions

The Union Cabinet has approved proposals for extending several benefits to ‘persecuted’ minorities from Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh living in India on long-term visas. Many members of the Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, Parsi and Christian communities have come to India fearing persecution in their home countries.

  • The beneficiaries can buy property for self-occupation or use in self-employment.
  • They are allowed free movement within the State of their stay, and can get their long-term visa papers transferred from one State to another.
  • The government has permitted them to apply for long-term visas from the place of their current residence, even if they have moved to the present place without seeking permission.
  • The government has waived the penalty on late application for extension of their short- or long-term visas. The registration fees for citizenship will be reduced to Rs. 100 from Rs. 3,000-15,000.

Soon, the Citizenship Rules, 2009, will be amended to help such persons get citizenship.

Legislation to give citizenship to minorities

  • In other legislation People belonging to minority communities of Pakistan, staying in India on a Long Term Visa, will soon be able to get citizenship.
  • The Centre will set up a 4-day camp here to grant Indian citizenship to those who migrated to India from Pakistan between 1971 and 2009. The application process is divided into three categories to bucket them according to their year of migration.

Bill to amend citizenship act, 1955

  • The government is also likely to introduce a Bill in the monsoon session of Parliament to amend the Citizenship Act, 1955
  • Amendment:Definition of “illegal migrants” to be changed that will enable the government to grant citizenship to minorities
  • The minorities aimed are at mostly Hindus, from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan, who have fled their country fearing religious persecution

References:

Any doubts?


  1. Profile photo of Siddhartha Singh Siddhartha Singh

    Sir, plz explain these:-

    1. Article 15 prohibits discrimination against citizens on ground of place of birth (among others) but NOT on the ground of residence. States can provide special benefits to its residents. What does this mean?

    2. In India both a citizen by birth and a naturalised citizen are eligible for office of president. What about others like citizen by registration and descent? Are they also eligible or NOT?

    3. What is diff b/w Registration and Naturalisation?

    1. Profile photo of Srishty Arun Srishty Arun

      Hi @siddharthasingh
      1) Residence as a ground for qualification is offered by J&K and AP. The intention of the state governments is to retain the educated locals and provide them with job opportunities. The same was witnessed post creation of Telangana.
      2) All are eligible. This is only to indicate that even if the individual who does’t have his/her origins in India is eligible to contest (unlike USA)
      3) The main difference is that a person of Indian origin can apply for citizenship through registration while non-Indian origin can apply through naturalisation.

  2. Profile photo of Chirag Jogani Chirag Jogani

    Very well explained…

  3. Profile photo of Root Root

    Updated with CD Explains

    1. Profile photo of Siddhartha Singh Siddhartha Singh

      Sir, plz explain these:-

      1. Article 15 prohibits discrimination against citizens on ground of place of birth (among others) but NOT on the ground of residence. States can provide special benefits to its residents. What does this mean?

      2. In India both a citizen by birth and a naturalised citizen are eligible for office of president. What about others like citizen by registration and descent? Are they also eligible or NOT?

      3. What is diff b/w Registration and Naturalisation?

      1. Profile photo of Amarish Chandrahas Amarish Chandrahas

        Ans1. If one is applying in lets say PCS then one will get reservation in only that state’s psc in which he reside.

        Ans2.Once he became citizen he can apply for president,vice president or any other civil holding there is no descrimination on the ground of mode of citizenship.

        Ans3.Naturalisation is for other country citizen while registration is for person of indian origin /OCI,anyone whose one of the parents and grandparents was part of undivided india and was permanent indian resident.

  4. Profile photo of Ravi Parkash Ravi Parkash

    sir plz complete the topic as soon as possible as its very confusing…..

    1. Profile photo of Ankur Yarazarvi Ankur Yarazarvi

      Things that I know: “Illegal Migrants” CANNOT be granted citizenship via Registration and also by Naturalization process, which will change now(after amendment). Hindus from Pak etc can be granted citizenship by govt under the above mentioned ways.

      There are 5 ways to acquire citizenship.

Audience need not stand when National Anthem is part of film: Supreme Court

SC: There is no need to be on your feet inside a cinema hall when the National Anthem is featured as a part of a film, documentary or a newsreel

Back2basics:

Tracing the issue in recent past:

#1. October 2016:

  • A writ petition filed by Shyam Narayan Chouksey which referred to the Prevention of Insults to National Honour Act of 1971
  • It claimed that the “National Anthem is sung in various circumstances which are not permissible and can never be countenanced in law”

#2. 30 November, 2016:

  • The Supreme Court had ordered cinema halls to mandatorily play the anthem and had directed all those present there to stand up to show respect
  • SC opinion: The practice would instil a feeling of committed patriotism and nationalism
  • It also ordered cinema halls to display the national flag on the screen when the anthem was played
  • The playing of the anthem in cinema halls is to be conceived as an opportunity for the public to express their “love for the motherland”
  • It is time people feel ‘this is my country’

#3. December 2016:

  • The Supreme Court first modified its November 30 order by exempting physically challenged or handicapped persons from standing up when the National Anthem is played before film screenings

#4. Now (February 2017):

  • The Supreme Court issued this second clarification on its November 30 order, directing all to mandatorily stand up when the National Anthem is sung or played in a cinema theatre
  • The court’s clarification came after several applications were filed on the question, including from the Conference for Human Rights and the Kodungallur Film Society

[op-ed snap] Assam’s identity brew


  1. Background: Citizenship (Amendment) Bill 2016 seeks to give citizenship by naturalization
  2. Who? Immigrants from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan
  3. Belonging to the Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, Parsi and Christian communities, facing religious persecution and coming to India before December 31, 2014
  4. All regions welcomed it but opposition grew in Assam
  5. Reason: Hindus from Bangladesh who came would obliterate the culture of local indigenous communities
  6. The bill proposes to reduce the number of years, from 11 to 6, required to live in India to obtain citizenship by naturalization

Note4Students:

This is an important bill concerning Citizenship Bill. Make a note for your Mains. This op-ed does not have much info but read the Newstrail by clicking the orange stripe.

Back2Basics:

Indian Constitution provides Citizenship by following ways:

  1. By Birth
  2. By Descent
  3. By Registration
  4. By Naturalisation

National anthem must be played before screening of films: Supreme Court

  1. What: The SC has ordered all cinema halls across the country to play the national anthem before the screening of films
  2. It said that all present must “stand up in respect” till the anthem ended
  3. Furthermore, it said the practice would “instill a feeling within one a sense of committed patriotism and nationalism”
  4. Cinema halls should also display the national flag on screen when the anthem is played
  5. The Bench said it is the duty of every person to show respect when the national anthem is played or recited or sung under the Prevention of Insults to National Honour Act of 1951
  6. In its interim order, the SC issued a complete ban on the commercial exploitation of the national anthem and the flag
  7. It banned dramatisation of the anthem or it to be used in any part of any variety shows or for entertainment purposes
  8. The court banned the display of the national anthem on any undesirable or disgraceful places
  9. It also banned the display, recitation or use of the abridged version of the national anthem
  10. The SC was hearing a plea to clarify when the national anthem should be sung
  11. Background: The SC’s decision to consider this PIL followed after a wheelchair-bound man was assaulted by a couple at a cinema hall in Panaji for not standing up during the rendition of the anthem

Back2basics:

The Prevention of Insults to National Honour Act, 1971 is an Act of the Parliament of India which prohibits desecration of or insult to the country’s national symbols, including

  1. The National Flag,
  2. The Constitution,
  3. Indian map and
  4. The National Anthem.

Significant amendments were added in 2003 and 2005, which prohibited many previously common uses of the flag, such as draping it over a podium during a speech, using it as decoration, or incorporating it into clothing designs.

Note4students:

Any SC judgment is important from the mains perspective. Note the judgment down, it will be useful for questions on patriotism, nationalism etc.

[op-ed snap] Who can become an Indian citizen?

  1. Context: Partition’s long shadow is evident on the Citizenship Amendment Bill, which seeks to introduce a religious distinction in the law. It must be debated
  2. Highlights of the bill:
  3. The Bill amends the Citizenship Act, 1955 to make illegal migrants who are Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christians from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan, eligible for citizenship.
  4. Under the Act, one of the requirements for citizenship by naturalisation is that the applicant must have resided in India during the last 12 months, and for 11 of the previous 14 years.
  5. The Bill provides that the registration of Overseas Citizen of India (OCI) cardholders may be cancelled if they violate any law.
  6. The Bill relaxes this 11 year requirement to six years for persons belonging to the same six religions and three countries.
  7. Issue #1: The Bill makes illegal migrants eligible for citizenship on the basis of religion. This may violate Article 14 of the Constitution which guarantees right to equality.
  8. Issue #2: The Bill allows cancellation of OCI registration for violation of any law. This is a wide ground that may cover a range of violations, including minor offences!

Note: Keep a note of these two issues, leave the rest. This edit was written with a regional outlook (specifically that of Assam) and we have removed those parts. It’s better that we keep in mind the universal issues and challenges.

Citizenship amendment bill communally motivated: Activists

  1. Context: Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016
  2. Proposed amendment: (to the Citizenship Act, 1955) To grant citizenship to non-Muslim minorities from Muslim majority countries
  3. This includes Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christians from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan
  4. Criticism: Civil Society groups- it is a communally motivated humanitarianism
  5. How? By seeking to grant citizenship on the basis of religious denomination, it is blatantly in violation of the constitution

Discuss: What are the objectives of recently introduced Bill to amend certain provisions of the Citizenship Act, 1955? Point out the lacunae in the bill?

Citizenship Act to be amended soon

  1. News: The government is likely to introduce a Bill in the monsoon session of Parliament to amend the Citizenship Act, 1955
  2. Amendment: Definition of “illegal migrants” to be changed that will enable the government to grant citizenship to minorities
  3. The minorities aimed are at mostly Hindus, from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan, who have fled their country fearing religious persecution
  4. Context: The Union Cabinet recently gave its approval to empower district magistrates to allow certain facilities for people staying on Long Term Visa (LTV) in India
  5. Facilities covered include purchase of property, issue of driving licence and self-employment

Pakistani Sindhi Hindus to get Indian citizenship

  1. Context: Nearly 35,000 Sindhis from Pakistan were living as refugees in M.P.
  2. The Centre will set up a 4-day camp here to grant Indian citizenship to those who migrated to India from Pakistan between 1971 and 2009
  3. The application process is divided into three categories to bucket them according to their year of migeration

Learn about Overseas Citizen of India (OCIs)

  1. About: Overseas Citizen of India is a lifetime visa status. It is the closest thing to dual citizenship that India offers
  2. Who can be OCI? A person who used to be an Indian citizen
  3. A person with at least 1 parent, grandparent, or great-grandparent who is/was an Indian citizen
  4. A person married to an Indian citizen or an existing OCI for at least 2 continuous years
  5. Drawbacks: May not purchase agricultural land or farm houses
    No voting power, May not hold a govt job, May not be elected to a political position

OCI cards enough to visit India

  1. News: Indian diaspora will no longer have to get a visa affixed on their passports every time they travel to India
  2. Context: Govt has decided that since categories Overseas Citizen of India (OCI) and Persons of Indian Origin (PIO) were merged last yr
  3. OCI card will suffice to enter the country and hence would require no VISA
  4. Old Practice: Every OCI card holder required to get a visa affixed from Indian High Commission whenever they planned a visit to India.
  5. Amendment: Govt amended the Citizenship Act, 1955 last yr and a notification was issued to merge the 2 cards
  6. Importance: Move would also help create a database of the Indian diaspora as a consolidated figure is not present with the govt

Citizenship soon for those who fled religious persecution

Citizenship for those who fled for religious persecution

Give priority to updating of citizens register: ULFA

Govt. set to grant citizenship to Hindus from Bangladesh



:( We are working on most probable questions. Do check back this section.







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