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Report No. 107

Law of Citizenship

Chapter 1

Law of Citizenship

1.1. Articles 5 to 9 of the Constitution.-

The law relating to Indian citizenship is set out in Articles 5 to 11, in Part II of the Constitution of India, and in the Citizenship Act (57 of 1955). Article 5 deals with the citizenship of persons who stayed in the territory allotted to India after partition of the country in 1947 into India and Pakistan. Such persons became Indian citizens provided they had their domicile in India by birth or descent, or, if they had been domiciled in India and were ordinarily resident in India for not less than five years immediately before the commencement of the Constitution. Article 6 deals with persons who were residing in the territory allotted to Pakistan, at the time of partition, but who wished to acquire an Indian domicile and become citizens of India.

Article 7 deals with persons who, after March 1, 1947, had left India, that is the territory allotted to India on partition, for the territory allotted to Pakistan. Such persons were not deemed to be citizens of India. The proviso to the Article deals with the possibility that some of these persons might have left for Pakistan because of the violence and disorder which preceded and followed the partition, but since then desired to return to India. If such persons returned to India under a permit for resettlement or permanent return, they are deemed to be Indian citizens.

Article 8 confers Indian citizenship on Indians residing abroad if they complied with the provisions of that Article. Article 9 provides that a person shall not be a citizen of India if he has voluntarily acquired the citizenship of any foreign State. The Supreme Court held that Article 9 applies only to cases of acquisition of citizenship of a foreign State prior to the commencement of the Constitution because of the phrase 'has voluntarily acquired' in the Article. This has led to the anomaly that the acquisition of foreign citizenship after January 26, 1950, did not involve the loss of Indian citizenship.

Parliament, however, in section 9(1) of the Citizenship Act, 1955, dealt with the situation by providing that any citizen of India who, by naturalization registration or otherwise voluntarily acquires or has at any time between the 26th January, 1950, and the commencement of the Act voluntarily acquired, the citizenship of another country shall, upon such acquisition or, as the case may be, such commencement, cease to be a citizen of India. That is to say, if a person acquired foreign citizenship after January 26, 1950, and before the commencement of the Citizenship Act (December 30, 1955) then such person would cease to be an Indian citizen only on and from December 30, 1955.

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