October 4, 2022

Indian Citizenship Act, 1955 with Amendments

OBJECT AND PURPOSE

This act regulates the registration of birth and deaths in India. For this purpose, it establishes the authorities for the registration and also provides that in case of birth and death who can go for registration.

IMPORTANT DEFINTIONS

In this act,

  • BIRTH” means live birth and still birth. Live birth means absence of all evidence of life prior to the complete expulsion or extraction from its mother of a product of conception irrespective of the duration of pregnancy. which, after such expulsion or extraction, breathes or show any other evidence of life, and each product of such birth is considered live-born.

Still birth means foetal death where a product of conception has attained at least the prescribed period of gestation. A foetal death means absence of all evidence of life prior to the complete expulsion or extraction from its mother of a product of conception irrespective of the duration of pregnancy.

  • DEATH” means the permanent disappearance of all evidence of life at any time after live birth has taken place.

REGISTRATION

REGISTRAR-GENERAL OF INDIA

The central Government has power to appoint Registrar General of India. The Registrar-General may issue general directions regarding registration of births and deaths in the territories to which this Act extends, and shall take steps to co-ordinate and unify the activities of Chief Registrars in the matter of registration of births and deaths and submit to the Central Government an annual report on the working of this Act in the said territories.

CHIEF REGISTRAR

In states, state government has the power to appoint Chief Registrar. The Chief Registrar shall take steps, by the issue of suitable instructions or otherwise, to co-ordinate, unity and supervise the work of registration in the State for securing an efficient system of registration and shall prepare a report on the working of this act in the state, and submit to the State Government.

REGISTRATION DEVISIONS

The state government may divide the state territory registration division and prescribe different rules for different registration divisions.

DISTRICT REGISTRAR (SEC 6)

The state Government may appoint a District Registrar for each revenue district and also appoint additional district registrars to discharge functions under the general control and direction of District Registrar.

The District Registrar shall superintend, subject to the direction of the Chief Registrar, the registration of births and deaths in the district and shall be responsible for carrying into execution in the district the provisions of this Act and the orders of the Chief Registrar issued from time to time for the purposes of this Act.

REGISTRARS (SEC 7)

The State Government may appoint a Registrar for each local area comprising the area within the jurisdiction of a municipality, panchayat or other local authority or any other area or a combination of any two or more of them.

Every Registrar shall, without fee or reward, enter in the register maintained for the purpose all information given to him related to births and deaths and shall also take steps to inform himself carefully of every birth and of every death which takes place in his jurisdiction and to ascertain and register the particulars required to be registered.

The Registrar may, with the prior approval of the Chief Registrar, appoint Sub-Registrars and assign to them any or all of his powers and duties in relation to specified areas within his jurisdiction

REGISTRATION OF BIRTHS AND DEATHS

PERSONS REQUIRED TO REGISTER BIRTHS AND DEATHS

It shall be the duty of following persons to give, either orally or in writing, according to the best of their knowledge and belief, information to the Registrar-

  • If birth and death taken place in a residential or non-residential house, the head of the house or if there are more than one household live in the house the head of the household.

The head being the person, who is so recognised by the house or the household, and if he is not present in the house at any time during the period within which the birth or death has to be reported, the nearest relative of the head present in the house, and in the absence of any such person, the oldest adult male person present therein;

  •  In respect of births and deaths in a hospital, health centre, maternity or nursing home or other like institution, the medical officer in charge or any person authorised by him in this behalf;
  • In respect of births and deaths in a jail, the jailor in charge;
  • In respect of births and deaths in a choultry, chattram, hostel, dharmasala, boarding-house, lodging-house, tavern, barrack, toddy shop or place of public resort, the person in charge thereof;
  • In respect of any new-born child or dead body found deserted in a public place, the headman or other corresponding officer of the village in the case of a village and the officer in charge of the local police station elsewhere.

The state government may change the requirement of persons in above categories for any period.

SPECIAL PROVISION REGARDING BIRTHS AND DEATHS IN A PLANTATION

In the case of births and deaths in a plantation, the superintendent of the plantation shall give or cause to be given to the Registrar the information related to deaths and births.

Plantation means any land not less than four hectares in extent which is being prepared for the production of, or actually produces, tea, coffee, pepper, rubber, cardamom, cinchona and “superintendent of the plantation” means the person having the charge or supervision of the labourers and work in the plantation, whether called a manager, superintendent or by any other name.

DUTY OF CERTAIN PERSONS TO NOTIFY BIRTHS AND DEATHS AND TO CERTIFY CAUSE OF DEATH

 It shall be the duty of—

  •  the midwife or any other medical or health attendant at a birth or death,
  • the keeper or the owner of a place set apart for the disposal of dead bodies or any person required by a local authority to be present at such place, or
  •  any other person whom the State Government may specify in this behalf by his designation, to notify every birth or death or both at which he or she attended or was present, or which occurred in such areas as may be prescribed, to the Registrar within such time and in such manner as may be prescribed.

PROCEDURE OF REGISTRATION

  • Every person who has orally given to the Registrar any information required under this Act shall write in the register maintained in this behalf, his name, description and place of abode, and, if he cannot write, shall put his thumb mark in the register against his name, description and place of abode, the particulars being in such a case entered by the Registrar.
  • The Registrar shall, as soon as the registration of a birth or death has been completed, give, free of charge, to the person, extract of the prescribed particulars under his hand from the register relating to such birth or death.
  • Any birth or death of which information is given to the Registrar after the expiry of the period specified therefor, but within thirty days of its occurrence, shall be registered on payment of such late fee as may be prescribed.
  • Any birth or death of which delayed information is given to the Registrar after thirty days but within one year of its occurrence shall be registered only with the written permission of the prescribed authority and on payment of the prescribed fee and the production of an affidavit made before a notary public or any other officer authorised in this behalf by the State Government.
  • Any birth or death which has not been registered within one year of its occurrence, shall be registered only on an order made by a magistrate of the first class or a Presidency Magistrate after varifying the correctness of the birth or death and on payment of the prescribed fee.
  • Where the birth of any child has been registered without a name, the parent or guardian of such child shall within the prescribed period give information regarding the name of the child to the Registrar either orally or in writing and thereupon the Registrar shall enter such name in the register and initial and date the entry.
  • If it is proved to the satisfaction of the Registrar that any entry of a birth or death in any register kept by him under this Act is erroneous in form or substance, or has been fraudulently or improperly made, he may correct the error or cancel the entry by suitable entry in the margin, without any alteration of the original entry, and shall sign the marginal entry and add thereto the date of the correction or cancellation.

MAINTENANCE OF RECORDS AND STATISTICS

REGISTRARS TO KEEP REGISTERS IN THE PRESCRIBED FORM

  • Every Registrar shall keep in the prescribed form a register of births and deaths for the registration area or any part thereof in relation to which he exercises jurisdiction.
  • The Chief Registrar shall cause to be printed and supplied a sufficient number of register books for making entries of births and deaths according to such forms and instructions as may, from time to time, be prescribed; and a copy of such forms in the local language shall be posted in some conspicuous place on or near the outer door of the office of every Registrar.

SEARCH OF BIRTHS AND DEATHS REGISTER

Any person may—

  • cause a search to be made by the Registrar for any entry in a register of births and deaths; and
  • obtain an extract from such register relating to any birth or death.

However, no extract relating to any death, issued to any person, shall disclose the particulars regarding the cause of death as entered in the register.

 All extracts given under this section shall be certified by the Registrar or any other officer authorised by the State Government to give such extracts as provided in section 76 of the Indian Evidence Act, 1872, and shall be admissible in evidence for the purpose of proving the birth or death to which the entry relates.

INSPECTION OF REGISTRATION OFFICES

The registration offices shall be inspected and the registers kept therein shall be examined in such manner and by such authority as may be specified by the District Registrar.

REGISTRARS TO SEND PERIODICAL RETURNS TO THE CHIEF REGISTRAR FOR COMPILATION.

  • Every Registrar shall send to the Chief Registrar or to any officer specified by him, at such intervals and in such form as may be prescribed, a return regarding the entries of births and deaths in the register kept by such Registrar.
  • The Chief Registrar shall cause the information in the returns furnished by the Registrars to be compiled and shall publish for the information of the public a statistical report on the registered births and deaths during the year at such intervals and in such form as may be prescribed.

SPECIAL PROVISION AS TO REGISTRATION OF BIRTHS AND DEATHS OF CITIZENS OUTSIDE INDIA

The Registrar-General shall, subject to such rules as may be made by the Central Government in this behalf, cause to be registered information as to births and deaths of citizens of India outside India received by him under the rules relating to the registration of such citizens at Indian Consulates made under the Citizenship Act, 1955, and every such registration shall also be deemed to have been duly made under this Act.

In the case of any child born outside India in respect of whom information has not been received, if the parents of the child return to India with a view to settling therein, they may, at any time within sixty days from the date of the arrival of the child in India, get the birth of the child registered under this Act in the same manner as if the child was born in India.

POWER OF REGISTRAR TO OBTAIN INFORMATION REGARDING BIRTH OR DEATH

The Registrar may either orally or in writing require any person to furnish any information within his knowledge in connection with a birth or death in the locality within which such person resides and that person shall be bound to comply with such requisition.

PENALTIES

Any person who—

  •  fails without reasonable cause to give any information which it is his duty to give; or
  •  gives or causes to be given, for the purpose of being inserted in any register of births and deaths, any information which he knows or believes to be false regarding any of the particulars required to be known and registered; or
  • refuses to write his name, description and place of abode or to put his thumb mark in the register,

shall be punishable with fine which may extend to fifty rupees.

 Any Registrar or Sub-Registrar who neglects or refuses, without reasonable cause, to register any birth or death occurring in his jurisdiction or to submit any returns shall be punishable with fine which may extend to fifty rupees.

Any medical practitioner who neglects or refuses to issue a certificate and any person who neglects or refuses to deliver such certificate shall be punishable with fine which may extend to fifty rupees.

Any person who, without reasonable cause, contravenes any provision of this Act for the contravention of which no penalty is provided for in this section shall be punishable with fine which may extend to ten rupees.

POWER TO COMPOUND OFFENCES

Chief Registrar may authorise any officer, either before or after the institution of criminal proceedings under this act, who has committed or is reasonable suspected of having committed an offence under this act, to accept a sum of money not exceeding fifty rupees by way of compounding such offence.

On the payment of such sum of money, such person shall be discharged and no further proceedings shall be taken against him in respect of such offence.

No prosecution for an offence punishable under this Act shall be instituted except by an officer authorised by the Chief Registrar.

No suit, prosecution or another legal proceeding shall lie against the Government, the Registrar-General, any Registrar, or any person exercising any power or performing any duty under this Act for anything which is in good faith done or intended to be done in pursuance of this Act or any rule or order made thereunder.

OBJECT AND PURPOSE

This act was enacted under power given to central Government by Article 11 of Constitution of India. This act provides for the acquisition and determination of Indian citizenship.

IMPORTANT DEFINITIONS AND TERMS

In this Act,

  • ‘Illegal Migrant’ means a foreigner who has entered into India without valid passport or other travel documents or if s/he entered with these document but remains in India beyond the permitted period of time.
  • Indian consulate” means the office of any consular officer of the Government of India where a register of births is kept, or where there is no such office, such office as may be prescribed;
  • Person” does not include any company or association or body of individuals, whether incorporated or not;
  • Undivided India” means India as defined in the Government of India Act, 1935.
  • A person shall be deemed to be of full age if he is not a minor and of full capacity if he is not of unsound mind.

PERSON BORN ABROAD A SHIP OR AIRCRAFT [SECTION 2(2)]

If a person born abroad a registered ship or aircraft, or abroad an unregistered ship or aircraft of the government of any country, s/he shall be deemed to have been born in that country in which the ship or aircraft was registered.

ACQUISITION OF CITIZENSHIP

CITIZENSHIP BY BIRTH (SECTION 3)

  • There are three categories for citizenship by birth under this act-
  • I Category- Every person shall be citizen of India if s/he born on or after the 26th day of January, 1950, but before the 1st day of July, 1987;
  • II Category- but if s/he born on or after the 1st day of July, 1987, but before the commencement of the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2003 then either of his/her parents should be a citizen of India at the time of his birth;
  • III Category-  If s/he born On or after the commencement of the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2003, In this case-
  • both of his/her parents should be citizens of India; or
  • If one of his/her parents is a citizen of India and the other should not an illegal migrant at the time of his birth.
  • A person shall not be a citizen of India by virtue of this section if at the time of his birth―
  •  either his father or mother possesses such immunity from suits and legal process as is accorded to an envoy of a foreign sovereign power accredited to the President of India and he or she, as the case may be, is not a citizen of India; or
  • his father or mother is an enemy alien and the birth occurs in a place then under occupation by the enemy.

CITZENSHIP BY DESCENT (SECTION 4)

  • A person born outside India shall be a citizen of India by descent, ―
  • on or after the 26th day of January, 1950, but before the 10th day of December, 1992, if his father is a citizen of India at the time of his birth; or
  • on or after the 10th day of December, 1992, if either of his parents is a citizen of India at the time of his birth.

But if the father of a person referred to in clause (a) and parent of person referred to in clause (b) were also a citizen of India by descent only, that person shall not be a citizen of India by virtue of this section unless―

  • his birth is registered at an Indian consulate within one year of its occurrence; or
  • his father is, at the time of his birth, in service under a Government in India:

Also, on or after the commencement of the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2003, a person shall not be a citizen of India by virtue of this section, unless his birth is registered at an Indian consulate within one year of its occurrence.

In all cases, if birth is not registered within one year at Indian Consulate, then such person can ask permission for extended period from central Government.

  • A minor who is a citizen of India by virtue of this section and is also a citizen of any other country shall cease to be a citizen of India if he does not renounce the citizenship or nationality of another country within six months of attaining full age.

CITIZENSHIP BY REGISTRATION (SECTION 5)

  • Central Government may, on an application made in this behalf, register as a citizen of India any person not being an illegal migrant, if s/he belongs to any of the following categories, namely: ―
  • a person of Indian origin who is ordinarily resident in India for seven years before making an application for registration;
  • a person of Indian origin who is ordinarily resident in any country or place outside undivided India;
  • a person who is married to a citizen of India and is ordinarily resident in India for seven years before making an application for registration;
  • minor children of persons who are citizens of India;
  • a person of full age and capacity whose parents are registered as citizens of India under clause (a) of this sub-section or sub-section (1) of section 6;
  • a person of full age and capacity who, or either of his parents, was earlier citizen of independent India, and is ordinarily resident in India for twelve months immediately before making an application for registration;
  • a person of full age and capacity who has been registered as an Overseas Citizen of India Cardholder for five years, and who is ordinarily resident in India for twelve months before making an application for registration.
  • For the purposes of clauses (a) and (c), an applicant shall be deemed to be ordinarily resident in India if―
  • he has resided in India throughout the period of twelve months immediately before making an application for registration; and
  • he has resided in India during the eight years immediately preceding the said period of twelve months for a period of not less than six years.
  • For the purposes of this sub-section, a person shall be deemed to be of Indian origin if he, or either of his parents, was born in undivided India or in such other territory which became part of India after the 15th day of August, 1947.
  • Central government has power to relax the period of twelve months up to maximum of thirty days if special circumstances exist.
  • If citizenship of any person has been deprived or terminated or if s/he renounced Indian citizenship, his/her citizenship shall not be registered again except by order of the Central Government.
  • Central Government has power to grant exemption from residential requirement to any person or class or person if necessary circumstances exists in this regard.

CITIZENSHIP BY NATURALISATION (SECTION 6)

  •  Where an application is made by any person of full age and capacity not being an illegal migrant, for the grant of a certificate of naturalisation to him, the Central Government may, if satisfied that the applicant is qualified for naturalisation, grant to him a certificate of naturalisation.
  • For naturalisation, following conditions are required-
  • s/he should not be a subject or citizen of any country where citizens of India are prevented by law or practice of that country from becoming subjects or citizens of that country by naturalisation;
  • he is a citizen of any country, 
  • he has either resided in India or been in the service of a Government in India or partly the one and partly the other, throughout the period of twelve months immediately preceding the date of the application; Central government may relax the period of these 12 month.
  • During the fourteen years immediately preceding the said period of twelve months, he has either resided in India or been in the service of a Government in India, or partly the one and partly the other, for periods amounting in the aggregate to not less than eleven years;
  • he is of good character;
  • he has an adequate knowledge of a language specified in the Eighth Schedule to the Constitution; and
  • In the event of a certificate of naturalisation being granted to him, he intends to reside in India, or to enter into, or continue in, service under a Government in India or under an international organisation of which India is a member or under a society, company or body of persons established in India.
  • Also, if in the opinion of the Central Government, the applicant is a person who has rendered distinguished service to the cause of science, philosophy, art, literature, world peace or human progress generally, it may waive all or any of the conditions and may grant him/her citizenship.

SPECIAL PROVISIONS AS TO CITIZENSHIP OF PERSONS COVERED BY THE ASSAM ACCORD (SEC 6A)

  • All persons of Indian origin who came before the lst day of January, 1966 to Assam from Bangladesh and who have been ordinarily resident in Assam since the dates of their entry into Assam shall be deemed to be citizens of India as from the lst day of January, 1966.
  • Every person of Indian origin shall be the citizen of Indian by registration, who―
  • came to Assam on or after the lst day of January, 1966 but before the 25th day of March, 1971 from Bangladesh; and
  • has, since the date of his entry into Assam, been ordinarily resident in Assam; and
  • has been detected to be a foreigner.

And such person shall have, as from the date on which he has been detected to be a foreigner and till the expiry of a period of ten years from that date, the same rights, and obligations as a citizen of India and the obligations connected therewith, but shall not be entitled to have his name included in any electoral roll for any Assembly or Parliamentary constituency at any time before the expiry of the said period of ten years.

After the expiration period of ten years, such person shall be deemed to be citizen of India for all purposes.

CITIZENSHIP BY INCORPORATION OF TERRITORY [SEC 7]

If any territory becomes a part of India, the Central Government may, by order notified in the Official Gazette, specify the persons who shall be citizens of India by reason of their connection with that territory; and those persons shall be citizens of India as from the date to be specified in the order.

OVERSEAS CITIZENSHIP

 

REGISTRATION OF OVERSEAS CITIZEN OF INDIA CARDHOLDER [SEC 7A]

  • A Person of full age and capacity may apply for Overseas Citizenship, in prescribes manner, if he is
  •  a citizen of another country, but was a citizen of India at the time of, or at any time after the commencement of the Constitution or minor child of such person; or
  •  a citizen of another country, but was eligible to become a citizen of India at the time of the commencement of the Constitution; but that person who or either of whose parents or grandparents or great grandparents is or had been a citizen of Pakistan, Bangladesh, shall not be eligible for registration as an Overseas Citizen of India Cardholder; or
  •  a citizen of another country, but belonged to a territory that became part of India after the 15th day of August, 1947; or
  •  a child or a grandchild or a great grandchild of such a citizen; or
  • a person, who is a minor child, and whose both parents are citizens of India or one of the parents is a citizen of India; or
  •  spouse of foreign origin of a citizen of India or spouse of foreign origin of an Overseas Citizen of India Cardholder registered under section 7A and whose marriage has been registered and subsisted for a continuous period of not less than two years immediately preceding the presentation of the application under this section.
  • Central Government has special power to register a person a person as an ‘Overseas Citizen Cardholder’ if special circumstances exists in this regard.

RIGHTS OF OVERSEAS CITIZEN OF INDIA CARDHOLDER (SEC 7B)

  • Central Government has power to specify the rights of OCI Cardholder.
  • OCI Cardholder shall not be entitled to the right of equality in opportunities, to be elected for the post of president, vice president; to be the judge of high court or supreme court; to register as a voter in India; to be elected as a member of legislative assemblies and parliament; for appointment to public services and posts in connection with affairs of the Union or of any State except for appointment in such services and posts as the Central Government may, by special order in that behalf, specify.

RENUNCIATION OF OVERSEAS CITIZEN OF INDIA CARD (SEC 7C)

 If any Overseas Citizen of India Cardholder of full age and capacity makes in prescribed manner a declaration renouncing the Card registering him as an Overseas Citizen of India Cardholder, the declaration shall be registered by the Central Government, and upon such registration, that person shall cease to be an Overseas Citizen of India Cardholder. With his/her renunciation, OCI card of his/her spouse and minor child will also be ceased.

CANCELLATION OF REGISTRATION AS OVERSEAS CITIZEN OF INDIA CARDHOLDER (SEC 7D)

The Central Government may cancel the registration of any OCI Cardholder if it is satisfied that-

  •  the registration as an Overseas Citizen of India Cardholder was obtained by means of fraud, false representation or the concealment of any material fact; or
  • the Overseas Citizen of India Cardholder has shown disaffection towards the Constitution, as by law established; or
  • the Overseas Citizen of India Cardholder has, during any war in which India may be engaged, unlawfully traded or communicated with an enemy or been engaged in, or associated with, any business or commercial activity that was to his knowledge carried on in such manner as to assist an enemy in that war; or
  • the Overseas Citizen of India Cardholder has, within five years after registration, been sentenced to imprisonment for a term of not less than two years; or
  • it is necessary so to do in the interests of the sovereignty and integrity of India, the security of India, friendly relations of India with any foreign country, or in the interests of the general public; or

TERMINATION OF CITIZENSHIP

 

RENUNCIATION OF CITIZENSHIP (SEC 8)

  • A person of full age and capacity may renounce his/her citizenship by making a declaration in prescribed manner. And if any such declaration is made during any war in which India may be engaged, registration thereof shall be withheld until the Central Government otherwise directs.
  • Where a person ceases to be a citizen of India, every minor child of that person shall thereupon cease to be a citizen of India. However, such minor child may, within one year after attaining full age, make a declaration that s/he wishes to resume Indian citizenship and shall thereupon again become a citizen of India.

 TERMINATION OF CITIZENSHIP (SEC 9)

  • Any citizen of India who by naturalisation, registration otherwise voluntarily acquires, the citizenship of another country shall, upon such acquisition, cease to be a citizen of India. However, this provision does not apply to such person who during any war in which India may be engaged, voluntarily acquires the citizenship of another country, until the Central Government otherwise directs.

DEPRIVATION OF CITIZENSHIP (SEC 10)

  • The Central Government may, deprive any citizen of Indian citizenship, if it is satisfied that―
  •  the registration or certificate of naturalisation was obtained by means of fraud, false representation or the concealment of any material fact; or
  • that citizen has shown himself by act or speech to be disloyal or disaffected towards the Constitution of India as by law established; or
  • that citizen has, during any war in which India may be engaged, unlawfully traded or communicated with an enemy or been engaged in, or associated with, any business that was to his knowledge carried on in such manner as to assist an enemy in that war; or
  • that citizen has, within five years after registration or naturalisation, been sentenced in any country to imprisonment for a term of not less than two years; or
  • that citizen has been ordinarily resident out of India for a continuous period of seven years, and during that period, has neither been at any time a student of any educational institution in a country outside India or in the service of a Government in India or of an international organisation of which India is a member, not registered annually in the prescribed manner at an Indian consulate his intention to retain his citizenship of India.

OTHER POWERS OF CENTRAL GOVERNMENT

  • If any doubt exists in respect to citizenship of a person, the central government may certify that person as a citizen of India. And this certificate will be conclusive evidence of his/her citizenship. (section 13)
  • Central Government may grant or refuse an application under sections 5 (citizenship by registration), 6 (citizenship due to Assam accord) and 7A (OCI Card) and shall not be required to assign any reasons for such grant or refusal. Decision of the central government will be final and this decision shall not be called in question in any court. (section 14)
  • The central Government has the power of review the decision of any authority under this act and person who is seeking revision, may make application within a period of thirty days.

NATIONAL REGISTRATION AUTHORITY (SEC 14A)

  • The Central Government may compulsorily register every citizen of India and issue national identity card to him.
  • The Central Government may maintain a National Register of Indian Citizens and for that purpose establish a National Registration Authority.
  • On and from the date of commencement of the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2003, the Registrar General, India, appointed under sub-section (1) of section 3 of the Registration of Births and Deaths Act, 1969 shall act as the National Registration Authority and he shall function as the Registrar General of Citizen Registration.

REVIEW (SEC 15A)   

  • Any person aggrieved by an order made by the Central Government, may, within thirty days from the date of such order, make an application for review of such order.

OFFENCES (SEC 17)

Any person who, for the purpose of procuring anything to be done or not to be done under this Act, knowingly makes any representation which is false in a material particular shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term which may extend to five years or with fine which may extend to fifty thousand rupees, or with both.

POWER TO MAKE RULES (SEC 18)

The Central Government may, by notification in the Official Gazette make rules to carry out the purposes of this Act.

Written by @arshihayatgangohi