Understanding the basics of ‘citizenship’ in Goa and India

With the matter of ‘citizenship’ being a regular in the news in Goa, here are some basics on the subject
THE BASICS: From a legal point of view, citizenship refers to the formal relationship between an individual and a country.
THE BASICS: From a legal point of view, citizenship refers to the formal relationship between an individual and a country.Photo: Gomantak Times

Stephen planned to move to Goa after living abroad for many years. He was faced with the question of his legal status in India, which had implications for his decision and future course of action.

WHAT IS CITIZENSHIP?

Citizenship is often understood as a concept that confers rights such as:

  • Civil rights like individual freedoms (personal freedom, freedom of thought and religion and the right to fair and equal justice)

  • Political rights like the exercise and control of political power, vote and to create political parties

  • Social rights that ensure a degree of welfare and safety

  • Cultural rights which include the right to maintain one’s cultural identity, ethnic and religious background

THE BASICS: From a legal point of view, citizenship refers to the formal relationship between an individual and a country.
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From a legal point of view, citizenship refers to the formal relationship between an individual and a country, which confers legal rights on the individual, like certain fundamental rights such as the right to vote, participate in elections, equal opportunity to public employment, and in certain countries, encompasses duties like military service.

A citizen has the status of being a legal member of a sovereign state, which confers civil and political rights.

When a person ceases to be a citizen of India, every minor child of his also ceases to be a citizen of India. However, such a child may, within one year after attaining the age of majority, become an Indian citizen by making a declaration of his intention to resume Indian citizen­ship.

Articles 5 to 11 of the Indian Constitution address the concept of citizenship and affirm the right of Parliament to regulate the right of citizenship by law.

Under the Citizenship Act, 1955, a person can become a citizen of India by:

  • Birth

  • Descent

  • Registration

  • Naturalisation

  • Incorporation of territory

THE BASICS: From a legal point of view, citizenship refers to the formal relationship between an individual and a country.
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Termination of citizenship is possible in the following ways under the Citizenship Act:

1. 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.

When a person ceases to be a citizen of India, every minor child of his also ceases to be a citizen of India. However, such a child may, within one year after attaining the age of majority, become an Indian citizen by making a declaration of his intention to resume Indian citizen­ship.

Indian citizenship can be terminated if a citizen knowingly, or voluntarily, adopts the citizenship of any foreign country.

2. Termination: Indian citizenship can be terminated if a citizen knowingly, or voluntarily, adopts the citizenship of any foreign country.

3. Deprivation: This can be done by the Central Government where citizenship was acquired by registration (in certain cases), naturalisation, or only by Article 5 (c) of the Constitution (citizen at the commencement of the Constitution by domicile in India and who had ordinarily been a resident of India for not less than 5 years immediately preceding the commencement of the Constitution).

Stephen now understood that citizenship formalises the conditions for full participation with legal rights and duties, in a country.

In the coming weeks, we’ll explore fundamental topics related to citizenship as well as other legal basics.

This article seeks to present, in simple words, legal issues and doubts that we face in our day-to-day lives. It should not be taken as a substitute for a lawyer.

(The writer is a lawyer and company secretary with a focus on education, legal issues and governance, and enjoys working with individuals and organisations towards enhancing their effectiveness).

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