ARTICLE 5

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Article 5 of the Indian Constitution addresses citizenship at the time the constitution was adopted. Due of the peculiar circumstances in India during the country’s independence, this piece is widely read. The princely kingdoms were free to join either of India or Pakistan once the nation split into those two.

People who had moved from Pakistan to India while still living there were to be granted Indian citizenship, whereas those who moved the other way, from India to Pakistan, had to be denied Indian citizenship. Therefore, it was crucial to specify who would be regarded as an Indian citizen at the time the constitution was put into effect.

What exactly does Article 5 state?

Beginning with the effective date of this Constitution, everyone with their primary residence in India’s who was either :-

(a) born on Indian soil, or

b) who either of their parents was born on Indian soil; or

(c) who has been a citizen of India for at least five years and who has lived habitually on Indian soil during that time.

Why is citizenship significant?

Citizens are distinguished from immigrants and given particular benefits. They have access to their basic rights, which foreigners do not. Due to the fact that only Indian citizens are eligible to vote in legislative elections and are therefore elected as president, vice president, judges of the supreme court or high court, etc., they are granted unique privileges.

Domicile in India

Domicile typically refers to a place of residence that is intended to be permanent. Domicile is divided into two categories:

  • Domicile of origin: This is the home that a person inherits at birth.
  • Domicile by choice: This is the domicile that a person obtains after voluntarily relocating to another nation with the desire to live there permanently.

In Central Bank of India v. Ram Narain (1954), it was decided that a person’s domicile is where he or she has a fixed habitat and has no intention of leaving.

It is required to prove that you intend to settle permanently in India in order to obtain the Indian domicile. The appellant in Mohammad Reza Debstani v. State of Bombay (1966), who had been to Iraq and then returned to India, was denied citizenship on the grounds that he had not proven his intention to live there permanently. The appellant had submitted numerous applications to prolong his stay in India after his return from Iraq. His stay was first prolonged, but in 1957, he asked for another extension. Before the Supreme Court, he filed an appeal asking to be treated as a citizen in accordance with Article 5 of the Constitution. The Court decided that the appellant’s repeated requests for extensions were enough to prove that she never intended to settle permanently in India.

Citizenship is more akin to a relationship that a nation has with its legitimate or verified citizens; it gives them access to a wide range of civic rights, including political, social, and economic rights.

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