Acquisition, Rights and Termination of Citizenship

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Mode of acquisition of citizen after January 26, 1950

  • Public Authorities: MPs and MLAs should be declared Public Authorities under the Right to Information Act, except when they are discharging legislative functions.
  • Immunity enjoyed by Legislators: Suitable amendments should be effected to article 105(2) of the Constitution to provide that the immunity enjoyed by MPs does not cover corrupt acts committed by them in connection with their duties in the House.
  • Similar amendments should be made in Article 194(2) of the Constitution in respect of members of the State Legislatures.
  • Ethical Norms in Legislature: An office of Ethics commissioner should be constituted by each House of Parliament, under the Speaker/Chairman to assist the Committee on Ethics.
  • All State Legislatures may adopt a code of ethics and a code of conduct for their members.
  • Constitutional Protection to Civil Servants: Article 310 and 311 should be done away with. These two Articles not only guarantee Constitutional protection to civil servants but also make it mandatory to seek prior sanction before prosecuting them.
  • Prior sanction should not be necessary for prosecuting a public servant who has been trapped red-handed or in cases of possessing assets disproportionate to the known sources of income.
  • Protection to whistle blowers: Whistleblowers ex-posing false claims, fraud or corruption should be protected by ensuring confidentiality and anonymity, protection from victimization in career and other administrative measures to prevent bodily harm and harassment.
  • Serious Economic Offences: Second ARC has suggested a new law to tackle serious economic offences involving Rs. 10 crore or more.
  • A serious frauds office should be set up in Cabinet Secretariat with power to investigate and prosecute in order to discipline financial sector, capital, futures and commodity markets and IT sector.
  • False Claim Law: The Second ARC has suggested a law on the lines of American False Claim Act, so that a citizen can seek legal relief against fraudulent claims against the government.
  1. Citizenship by birth: Every person born in India on or after January 26, 1950, shall be a citizen of India by birth.
  2. Citizenship by descent: A person born outside India on or after January 26, 1050, shall be a citizen of India by descent if either of his parents is a citizen of India at the time of the person’s birth.
  3. Citizenship by registration: A person can acquire Indian citizenship by registering themselves before the prescribed authority, e.g. persons of Indian origin who are ordinarily resident in India and have been so resident for five years immediately before making the application for registration; persons who are married to citizens of India.
  4. Citizenship by naturalization:  A foreigner can acquire Indian citizenship, on application for naturalisation to the Government of India.
  5. Citizenship by Incorporation of territory: If any new territory become s part of India, the Government of India shall specify the persons of that territory who shall be the citizens of India.

Evaluation

  • Recommending is the easier part of reform, now the challenge is to show political will for implementation.
  • Some recommendations can be implemented immediately. However, some require debate and consultation and amendments to the Constitution. Building a national consensus or a consensus among political parties may be difficult or time consuming.
  • This is the Commission’s fourth report. An official decision has yet to be taken on the last three.
  • The Department of Administrative Reforms has sent the earlier three reports to the concerned ministries for comments. The fourth will go through the same procedure. The final decision may take time.
  • Prime Minister is kept out of the purview of Rashtriya Lokayukta. PM does not take all the decisions individually. If a personality like Super PM, hidden be-hind PM exists, then he/she and the PMO officials are saved by the report.
  • However, keeping the PM outside the purview of Rashtriya Lokayukta is politically correct as it reduces the risk of political uncertainty.
  • The setting up of an NJC may annoy judiciary, as it (the judiciary) may not be impressed by a suggestion of outsiders being asked to sit in judgement on their conduct. The government is already struggling to pass the Judges (Inquiry) Bill, which judiciary has not taken easily.
  • However, the peculiar practice of the judiciary playing a singularly important role in appointing Judges is against the democratic principle. There are three organs of government and the principle of checks and balance should be followed. So, the suggestion for NJC is a welcome step.
  • Also, a collegium of representatives from all the branches of the government should not be considered outsiders. In an era of judicial activism, judiciary is taking many decisions in the administrative, executive and legislative spheres. Judiciary, in turn, should not have a problem with democratic and trans-parent appointments and removals of judges, which is in the national interest.

Rights given to the Indian citizens by the Indian Constitution

  1. Some of the fundamental rights enumerated In Part-III of the Constitution, for example Article 15, 16, 29, 30.
  2. Only citizens are eligible for certain offices such as offices of President, Vice-President, Judge of Supreme Court or High Court, Attorney General, Governor of a State.
  3. Right of suffrage, the right to become a Member of Parliament and of the legislature of a State.

TERMINATION OF CITIZENSHIP

  • Renunciation by Voluntary Act.
  • After acquiring the citizenship of another country.
  • Deprivation of citizenship by an order of the Government of India.
The Prevention of Corruption (Amendment) Act, 2006 already exists in Jammu and Kashmir that provides for seizure and forfeiture of properties of a public servant, which has been acquired by illegal means. The Commission also took note of it. A similar law for the whole nation is not only possible, its urgently needed.
Finally, the recommendations are not outrageous. If implemented, they would help development of an honest polity, an accountable judiciary and a clean and transparent executive