The Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2015

The Act no. 1 of the year 2015 i.e. the present Amending Act- The Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2015 was enacted by the Parliament of India in the last year. This Amending Act’s connected bill was introduced by the Minister of State, Ministry of Home Affairs in the Lok Sabha on 27th day of February, 2015, wherefrom this bill was cleared on 2nd day of March, 2015. Then, the bill was cleared by the Rajya Sabha on 4th day of March, 2015. As such, the bill was converted into Law, and it is given assent by the President of India on 10th day of March, 2015. The very object behind this enactment is to amend the provisions of the Principal Act- Citizenship Act, 1955 (Act no. 57 of 1955). Moreover, notably, this Act was brought into operation, with the retrospective effect, i.e. from the 6th day of January, 2015.

This Amending Act is comprising of only 7 sections and first one of them is disclosing the title and date of enforcement of this Amending Act. Moreover, the effective provisions are contained from section 2 of this Amending Act. It is notable that the Principal Act is providing provisions for regulating the acquisition and determination of the citizenship after the commencement of the Constitution. Moreover, that law is of providing several forms of citizenship like by birth, by registration, by descent, by naturalisation and by incorporation of territory. Also, that Act is making provisions for the renunciation and termination of citizenship under certain circumstances. The present Amending Act is mainly concerning with the registration of the Overseas Citizens of India and their rights. However, the present Amending Act is also making some amendments in the other forms of citizenship rules too.

Thus, in connection with the Citizenship by registration and naturalisation, the Principal Act is allowing the person for applying for the citizenship by registration or naturalisation when he fulfills certain qualifications provided under the provisions of that Act. As such, for citizenship by registration, a person can apply if he or his parents were earlier citizens of India and if he resided in Indian for one year before the date of applying for registration. Similarly, for the certificate of naturalisation, a person can apply if he has resided in India or have served a Government in India for a period of Twelve months immediately preceding the date of application. Now, the present Amending Act is allowing the Central Government to relax the requirement of 12 months stay or service if special circumstances exist. Moreover, the Central Government is also allow to permit the relaxation up to 30 days which may be in different breaks.

Secondly, the Amending Act is seeking changes in connection with the registration of the Overseas Citizens of India. The present Amending Act is offering some additional grounds for such registration for the Overseas citizen of India card, in which a minor child, whose parents are Indian citizen; a spouse of foreign origin of an Indian citizen or souse of foreign origin of an Overseas Citizen of India cardholder with some conditions; a great- grandchild of person who is citizen of another country, but who meets conditions stipulated. Also, the Central Government is empowered to register a person as Overseas Citizen of India Cardholder, if special circumstances exist, and even if such person does not satisfy any of the listed qualifications. Moreover, this Amending Act is also extending the coverage of the provisions which is not permitting the overseas citizenship of India to the persons from the Pakistan or Bangladesh, to their parents, grandparents, great- grandparents. Also, the present Amending Act is permitting the Central Government to notify that the persons of Indian Origin card holders should be considered to be Overseas Citizen of India card holders from a specified date.

And lastly, this Amending Act is extending the provisions of the renunciations and cancellation of the overseas citizenship. Earlier the Principal Act was providing that if a person renounces his overseas citizenship, his minor child will also be cease to be an Overseas Citizen of India, however, now the Amending Act is extending it and saying that his spouse will also be ceased to be an Overseas Citizen of India. Also, as per Amending Act, the Central Government is empowered to cancel the Overseas Citizenship of India, which the spouse would have obtained by virtue of marriage, when such marriage is dissolved by a court, or when such spouse enters into another marriage, while the first marriage is existing.

Read the Bare Act here