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Citizenship | Definition, History, & Facts

Updated: Jul 15, 2021

Citizenship | Definition, History, & Facts

It deals with the membership of a person in a State and of his Civic Status. It enables him to certain rights and obligations. He owes allegiance and is entitled to the protection (Salmond)

Citizens of India as on 26-1-1950 :

Articles 5 to 8 deal with the Citizenship of India at the commencement of the Constitution.

(i) Art. 5: Citizenship by birth and parentage: A person, domiciled in India on 26-1-1950 and born in India, or either of his parents born in India or ordinarily resident in India for 5 years

immediately before 26-1-1950 is a Citizen of India.

(ii) Art. 6 : Migration to India from Pakistan : A person who has migrated from Pakistan is a citizen as on 26-1-1950 if—

(a) He or either of his parents or grandparents was born in India; or

(b) Migrated to India before 19-7-1948 (but resident thereafter), or

(c) Migrated to India after 19-7-1948, but has duly registered his name fulfilling 6 months residential qualification.

(iii) Art. 7 : Migrants to Pakistan but returning back : A person who has migrated to Pakistan after 1-3-1948 is not a Citizen of India. However, if he has returned to India under a permit for resettlement or permanent return, he is a Citizen of India. In Kulathil V. State of Kerala, the Supreme Court held that the word migrated is to be understood in a wider sense and hence there must be voluntary movement from Pakistan to India; and not for a specific purpose or for a short and limited purpose.

(iv) Art. 8: Deemed Citizens resident abroad: A per son, either of whose parents was born in India, but ordinarily residing in a Foreign Country becomes a Citizen of India by registration with Indian Diplomatic or Consular office abroad. This may be before or after 26-1-1950.

(v) Termination: By voluntarily acquiring citizenship of a Foreign country, an Indian Citizen's citizenship is terminated.

Citizenship under the Citizenship Act 1955 :

Art. 11 empowered the Parliament to make law governing Citizenship and the Parliament enacted the Citizenship Act in 1955, dealing with acquisition and termination of citizenship after commencement of the Constitution.

Modes of Acquisition:

(i) By Birth : (Jus Soli) Sn.3. Persons born in India after 26-11950 are citizens by birth.

(ii) By Descent : (Jus Sanguinis) Sn. 4. A person born outside India on or after 16-1-1950 is a Citizen if his father was a Citizen of India by birth. (But if that father was a citizen by descent, he should have registered at the Indian Consulate Office or be in

Indian Government Service.)

(iii) By Registration : Sn.5 provides for registration as a Citizen.Application may be filed by : Women married to Indian Citizens, minor children of Indian Citizens, persons from Commonwealth Countries etc. They are registered by the prescribed authority.

(iv) By Naturalisation : Sn.6. Any person from any country other than the Commonwealth countries, with full age and capacity may file an application for naturalisation and if the Central Government is satisfied that the applicant is duly qualified, it may grant a Certificate of naturalisation.

(v) Distinguished Personality : The Central Government may waive the above conditions and grant Citizenship to any person who has rendered distinguished service to the cause of science, philosophy, art, literature, world peace or human progress.

(vi) Incorporation of Territory: If any territory is acquired by India, the Central Government may notify in the Official Gazette, specifying who would be citizens of India. Termination

of Citizenship:

(i) By Renunciation : Sn.8. If a Citizen of India who is also a National or a Citizen of another country, makes a declaration renouncing his Indian Citizenship, it shall be registered by the

prescribed authority. On such registration, that person's Indian Citizenship is terminated.

(ii) By Termination : By operation of law this happens when a person voluntarily acquires citizenship of another country.

State of A. P. V.Abdul Khader. A, born in India in 1924, went to Pakistan in 1954, returned to India with a Pakistan Passport in 1955. He outlived his stay and hence was arrested and convicted. It was held that the conviction was wrong as the Magistrate considered 'A' as a foreigner. Held, A was a Citizen by birth under Art. 5.

(iii) By deprivation: Sn. 10. The grounds on which a citizen may be deprived of his citizenship are as follows:

(1) Fraud, false representation etc. in obtaining the Certificate of Registration or Naturalisation;

(2) Disaffection towards the Indian Constitution;

(3) Unlawful trading or communicating with the enemy during war;

(4) Imprisonment in any foreign country for 2 years and above;

(5) Staying outside India for over 7 years without registration in Consulate's office (A student or persons in government service or in International Organizations need not register).

'Company' whether a citizen :

Question whether a juristic person like the 'Company' was a citizen arose in State Trading Corporation of India V.C.T.O. The S.T.C. was a registered company, and its sales were taxed. The company challenged this tax, as infringement of its fundamental right to do business in Art.l9(l)(g). As Art 19 (1) (g) is a fundamental right available to a citizen, question arose whether the company was a citizen. Held, the company was not a citizen. The fundamental rights were available only to natural born persons, and not to companies. Sn.5 provides for registration as a Citizen.Application may be filed by : Women married to Indian Citizens, minor children of Indian Citizens, persons fromCommonwealth Countries etc. They are registered by the prescribed authority.

The Supreme Court held in British India Steam Navigation Company V. J. Singh that this shipping company was not a citizen. In Tata Engineering & Locomotive Co. V. State of Bihar it was argued that if all the share-holders are citizens of India, then the company's veil can be lifted and the fundamental rights of the citizens be protected. Held, with this the company would achieve indirectly what it cannot do directly. Held company was not a citizen even if all shareholders were citizens.

New Trend : However, the above cases are neutralised by the Supreme Court in Bank Nationalisation Case (1970). The reason was : Shareholders are citizens and are entitled to Fundamental rights of Art. 19. If they associate themselves, and form a Company, their rights are not lost. If the shareholders' rights are to be protected, it necessarily means that the company's rights should be protected.

In Bennette Coleman's Case (1973), the Court held the shareholder, editor, printer etc. had a right under Art. 19(l)(a). They speak to the public through the editor. These rights are manifested and protected by the newspaper company. Hence, they have a locus standi through the company.

In DC & GM V Union of India (1983), the Court held that writ by the company was maintainable for violation of Fundamental Rights under Art. 19. Denial of right to the company would be denial to the shareholders. Hence, a company can maintain a writ petition.

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