Notwithstanding anything in article 5, any person who or either of whose parents or any of whose grandparents was born in India as defined in the Government of India Act, 1935 (as originally enacted), and who is ordinarily residing in any country outside India as so defined shall be deemed to be a citizen of India if he has been registered as a citizen of India by the diplomatic or consular representative of India in the country where he is for the time being residing on an application made by him therefor to such diplomatic or consular representative, whether before or after the commencement of this Constitution, in the form and manner prescribed by the Government of the Dominion of India or the Government of India

Debate Summary

Article 8 (Article 5-B of Draft Constitution) regulates citizenship rights of Indian origin persons residing outside India. The article required Indians abroad to make an application and register before the Consular or Diplomatic office to become Indian citizens.

This article was debated on 10th August 194911th August 1949 and 12th August 1949.

A member believed that the article provided unfair special treatment to Indians abroad who are seeking Indian citizenship: as it allows for application and registration even after the commencement of the Constitution. However, the previous article, which grants citizenship to persons who have migrated from Pakistan, did not receive a similar prospective application.

To remedy any issues or lacunae, a member proposed to insert ‘subject to any law made by the Parliament’. He argued that, while Article 11 (Draft Article 6) empowers the Parliament to make a comprehensive law on citizenship, it cannot make any provisions that are inconsistent with the citizenship articles of the Constitution. A member of the Drafting Committee did not agree with this interpretation and argued that Article 11 (Draft Article 6) makes the addition of this phrase superfluous. Some members were not convinced by this explanation. They believed that this issue was a matter of legal interpretation and has a scope of future litigation: they urged make this article more definitive.

The Assembly adopted the Article without amendments on 12 August 1949.