Citizenship delayed; 800 Pakistani Hindus left India

GS 2, Citizenship, Constitution.


  • According to Seemant Lok Sangathan (SLS), a nonprofit that promotes for the rights of Pakistani minority migrants in India, around 800 Pakistani Hindus who were settling in Rajasthan after coming to India seeking citizenship on the basis of religious persecution had returned to Pakistan in 2021.
  • Many of them returned to Pakistan after discovering that their citizenship application had not been processed.
  • The Ministry amended the Citizenship Rules in 2015, legalising the stay of foreign migrants from six communities who entered India on or before December 2014 due to religious persecution, by exempting them from the provisions of the Passport Act and the Foreigners Act because their passports had expired. People seeking asylum in India enter on long-term visas (LTVs) or pilgrim visas. The LTVs, which are valid for five years, are a step toward citizenship.

Provisions of the Constitution:

  • Citizenship is listed on the Union List in the Constitution and consequently falls solely under the competence of Parliament.
  • The term “citizen” is not defined in the Constitution, although details on the various types of people who are eligible for citizenship are provided in Part 2. (Articles 5 to 11).
  • Unlike other parts of the Constitution, which went into effect on January 26, 1950, these articles went into effect on November 26, 1949, the day the Constitution was ratified.

Article 5: It established citizenship at the start of the Constitution.

  • Citizenship was granted to all people born and domiciled in India.
  • Citizenship was granted to persons who were domiciled but not born in India, yet either of their parents was born in India.
  • Anyone who had been a regular resident for more than five years might also seek for citizenship.

Article 6: It granted citizenship rights to some people who came to India from Pakistan.

  • Because Partition and migration predated Independence, Article 6 stated that anybody who relocated to India before July 19, 1949, would immediately become an Indian citizen if one of his parents or grandparents was born in India.
  • However, anyone who entered India after this date were required to register.

Article 7: Provided selected migrants to Pakistan with the right to citizenship.

  • Those who went to Pakistan after March 1, 1947 and then returned on resettlement permits were included in the citizenship net.
  • The law was more sympathetic to individuals who moved from Pakistan and were referred to be refugees than to those who were trapped in Pakistan or travelled there but wanted to return quickly.

Article 8: Provided some individuals of Indian heritage residing outside India with citizenship rights.

  • Any Person of Indian Origin residing outside India who was born in India, or any of his or her parents or grandparents, might register as an Indian citizen with the Indian Diplomatic Mission.

Article 9: It states that anybody who willingly acquires the citizenship of a foreign state is no longer a citizen of India.

Article 10: It states that any person who is or is deemed to be a citizen of India under any of the preceding provisions of this Part will continue to be such citizen, subject to the requirements of any law adopted by Parliament.

Article 11: It authorises Parliament to enact any provision regarding the acquisition and termination of citizenship, as well as other related concerns.

Indian Citizenship Acquisition and Determination:

Indian citizenship may be obtained in four ways:


  • Birth,
  • Descent,
  • Registration, or
  • Naturalisation.

The provisions are outlined in the Citizenship Act of 1955.

By Birth:

  • Every individual born in India on or after 26.01.1950 but before 01.07.1987 is an Indian citizen, regardless of his or her parents’ nationality.
  • Anyone born in India between 01.07.1987 and 02.12.2004 is a citizen of India if either of his or her parents is a citizen of the nation at the time of birth.
  • Anyone born in India on or after December 3, 2004, is a citizen of the nation if both parents are Indians or if at least one parent is a citizen and the other is not an illegal migrant at the time of birth.

By Registration:

 Citizenship can also be obtained by registration. Some of the required rules are as follows:

  • A person of Indian descent who has lived in India for seven years prior to registering for registration.
  • A person of Indian descent who resides in a nation other than undivided India.
  • A person who is married to an Indian citizen and has lived in the country for at least seven years before seeking for registration.
  • Children of Indian citizens who are minors.

By Descent:

  • A person born outside India on or after January 26, 1950 is a citizen of India by ancestry if his or her father was born in India.
  • A person born outside India on or after December 10, 1992, but before December 3, 2004, if either parent was born in India.
  • If a person born outside India or after December 3, 2004, wants to become a citizen, his or her parents must state that the minor does not have another country’s passport and that his or her birth is recorded at an Indian consulate within one year of birth.

Through Naturalisation:

  • A person can get citizenship by naturalisation if he or she has been usually resident in India for 12 years (during the 12 months before the date of application and 11 years in total) and meets all of the requirements listed in the third schedule of the Citizenship Act.
  • Dual citizenship or dual nationality are not permitted under the Act. It only enables citizenship for those named in the preceding clauses, i.e., via birth, descent, registration, or naturalisation.

Citizenship (Amendment) Bill 2019:

The amendment proposes allowing members of six communities — Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis, and Christians — from Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Afghanistan to remain in India if they arrived before December 31, 2014.

  • It also cuts the citizenship requirement from 11 to 5 years.
  • In addition, two announcements exempted these migrants from the Passport Act and the Foreigners Act.
  • A big number of Assamese organisations challenged this Bill because it may provide citizenship to illegal Bangladeshi Hindu migrants.
  • The bill’s argument is that Hindus and Buddhists are minorities in Bangladesh and went to India to fear religious persecution, while Muslims are the majority in Bangladesh and cannot be regarded to be in the same category.

The Citizen Amendment Bill was introduced in parliament for the first time in July 2016.

  • The Citizenship Act of 1955 governs who can obtain Indian citizenship and under what conditions. A person can become an Indian citizen if they were born in India, have Indian ancestors, or have lived in the nation for a certain amount of time.
  • Illegal immigrants, on the other hand, are barred from obtaining Indian citizenship. An illegal migrant is a foreigner who enters the nation without legitimate travel documentation, such as a passport and visa, or who comes with official documents but remains longer than allowed.
  • Under the Foreigners Act of 1946 and the Passport (Entry into India) Act of 1920, illegal migrants can be imprisoned or deported. The 1946 and 1920 Acts provide the central government the authority to restrict foreigners’ admission, leave, and residency within India.
  • A bill to modify the Citizenship Act of 1955 was proposed in 2016. The Bill attempted to make illegal migrants from these six religions and three nations eligible for citizenship, as well as to make certain adjustments to the regulations governing the registration of Overseas Citizens of India (OCI) cardholders.
  • The 2019 Bill intends to allow illegal migrants from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, and Pakistan who are Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis, and Christians eligible for citizenship. Certain locations in the North-East are excluded from this clause. The Bill also modifies provisions for OCI cardholders. A foreigner who is of Indian origin (e.g., a former citizen of India or their descendants) or the spouse of an Indian origin may register as an OCI under the 1955 Act. This will grant them to perks such as the ability to travel to India, as well as work and study there. The Act is amended by the Bill to allow for the termination of OCI registration if the individual violates any legislation declared by the federal government.

The Bill has caused several controversies:

  • Targeting Muslims: The Bill’s main criticism has been that it expressly targets Muslims.
  •  Article 14: Opponents claim that it violates Article 14 of the Constitution, which protects the right to equality.
  • In the North-eastern states, the prospect of citizenship for large numbers of illegal Bangladeshi migrants has sparked strong worries of demographic change, loss of livelihood possibilities, and deterioration of local culture.
  • Law and order scenario: The violent protests have produced a law-and-order issue. Even though the northeast and the rest of India are joining the protests against the Act, their goals are completely different.
  •  Benefit non-Muslims: There are concerns that the CAA, which will be followed by a nationwide compilation of the National Registry of Citizens (NRC), would benefit non-Muslims who are excluded from the planned citizens’ register, while excluded Muslims will have to prove their citizenship.
  • Religious persecution: The Bill seeks to offer citizenship to religious minority who have endured religious persecution in Muslim-majority nations.
  • It provides for the revocation of OCI registration in the event of a breach of any legislation. This is a broad basis that can encompass a wide range of infractions, including minor offences


The Act does not apply to tribal areas of Tripura, Mizoram, Assam, and Meghalaya because they are included in the 6th Schedule of the Constitution; additionally, areas that fall within the Inner Limit notified under the Bengal Eastern Frontier Regulation, 1873, will be excluded from the Act’s scope.


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