Concept of Citizenship, Citizenship Amendment Act.

20/04/2024 0 By indiafreenotes

The Concept of citizenship in India is governed by Part II of the Indian Constitution, specifically Articles 5 to 11, and is detailed in the Citizenship Act, 1955. This act, along with its amendments, lays out the ways by which one can acquire or lose citizenship in India. The notion of citizenship carries with it certain rights such as the right to vote, the right to own property, the right to a passport, and eligibility for public service, as well as duties such as obeying laws and paying taxes.

Concept of Citizenship in India

Citizenship in India can be acquired by birth, descent, registration, and naturalization, which are detailed in the Citizenship Act of 1955:

  • By Birth:

Any individual born in India on or after January 26, 1950, but before July 1, 1987, is a citizen of India by birth. A person born in India between July 1, 1987, and December 3, 2004, is a citizen if either parent was a citizen at the time of the birth. After December 3, 2004, a person born in India can only become a citizen if both parents are citizens or if one parent is a citizen and the other is not an illegal migrant at the time of their birth.

  • By Descent:

Children born outside of India can claim citizenship if their parents were citizens at the time of their birth. From December 3, 2004, onward, citizenship by descent is only granted if the birth is registered at an Indian consulate within one year of the date of birth.

  • By Registration:

Government of India can register a person as a citizen of India if they are of Indian origin and have been a resident of India for seven years before applying for registration.

  • By Naturalization:

Citizenship can be granted to a foreigner who has resided in India for twelve years (throughout the period of twelve months immediately before the date of application and for eleven years in the aggregate in the fourteen years preceding the twelve months) and other qualifications as specified in the Third Schedule to the Act.

Citizenship Amendment Act, 2019 (CAA)

Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) passed by the Parliament in December 2019, amended the Citizenship Act of 1955. It aims to provide an accelerated path to Indian citizenship for persecuted minorities from three neighboring countries: Afghanistan, Bangladesh, and Pakistan. The act specifically names Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis, and Christians, excluding Muslims, which has led to widespread controversy and allegations of discrimination.

Key Provisions of the CAA:

  • Eligibility Criteria:

The act relaxes the requirement of residence in India for Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, Parsi, and Christian immigrants from the three specified countries from eleven years to five years.

  • Exemptions:

It exempts certain areas in the North-East of India from this provision, which includes tribal areas under the Sixth Schedule of the Constitution and regions covered by the Inner Line Permit (ILP).

Controversies and Concerns

CAA has sparked considerable national and international debate and opposition. Critics argue that by excluding Muslims, the act discriminates on the basis of religion, thus violating the secular principles enshrined in the Constitution. There are also concerns about the potential challenges it poses to the demographic structure of certain regions, particularly in the North-Eastern states of India.

Proponents of the CAA argue that it provides necessary protection to minority groups that face religious persecution in the specified Muslim-majority countries. They assert that the act is a humanitarian gesture and not discriminatory as it does not affect the existing avenues available to all religious groups to seek citizenship.