At the commencement of this Constitution, every person who has his domicile in the territory of India and —


        (a) who was born in the territory of India; or

        (b) either of whose parents was born in the territory of India; or

        (c) who has been ordinarily resident in the territory of India for not less than five years immediately preceding such commencement,


shall be a citizen of India.

Debate Summary


Article 5 deals with basic principles of citizenship.

This Article corresponds to Article 5 of the Draft Constitution and Clause 3 of Annexure to the Interim Report of the Advisory Committee on Fundamental Rights.


Committee Stages:

Clause 3 was discussed on 29th April 1947. The Constituent Assembly noted that the clause inadequately addressed the issue of citizenship and constituted Ad Hoc Committee on Citizenship. S.Varadachariar (Chair), Bakshi Tek Chand, B.L.Mitter, Alladi Krishnaswami Ayyar, K.N. Katju, K.M.Munshi and Dr. B. R. Ambedkar were the members of this Committee.

 The Committee report was taken up in the Constituent Assembly on 1st May 1947. The redrafted provision was criticized and held over for reconsideration.


Constituent Assembly Debate Stage:

Article 5 of Constitution of India, 1950 along with Articles 6, 7, 8, 10 and 11 were debated on 10th August 1949, 11th August 1949 and 12th August 1949.

The Drafting Committee redrafted and presented provisions relating to Citizenship to the Constituent Assembly on 10th August 1949.

The Drafting Committee, as per,  Ambedkar faced a difficult task to ensure that all different cases and situations related to citizenship were accounted for in Part II (Articles 5 to 11). He  noted that the two primary purposes of Part II were: to address the issue of citizenship at the time of commencement of the Constitution and not to establish permanent law governing citizenship (this function was deferred to future Parliaments).

Ambedkar explained to the Constituent Assembly that Draft Article 5 deals with citizenship of: persons born in India [Draft Article 5 (a)], persons whose parents are born in India [Draft Article 5 (b)] and persons who are not born in India but resided in India for five years [Draft Article 5 (c)].

Several members proposed amendments to the Draft Article 5.

P.S. Deshmukh sought to add a residuary provision according to which every Hindu or Sikh not being a citizen of any other State irrespective of their residence would be entitled to be citizen of India. Claiming that this amendment is secular, he argued that this would ensure that every Hindu or Sikh would have a home in India similar to Muslims’ claim of establishing Pakistan. He recommended that the duration of residency in clause (c) be increased from five to twelve. He remarked that the Draft Article makes Indian citizenship very easy and cheap. He invoked American example to illustrate how safeguards can be adopted in matters relating to citizenship.

Jaspat Roy Kapoor suggested that the Draft Article be amended to include newly born children to Indian parents in India. He argued that the Draft Article is inadequate in addressing the problems of citizenship from the time Constitution is enacted till Parliament makes an exhaustive law.

K.T.Shah sought to accommodate dual citizenship in Draft Article 5 through his amendment. He suggested not providing equal rights of citizenship to nationals of countries which don’t extend the same to Indian citizens.

Thakur Das Bhargava recommended that the duration of residency in clause (c) be increased from five to ten. He argued that in the interests of caution to check on people who are in India in service of the Crown or who have come from Pakistan, it is imminent to have a longer requirement of ten years residency in India.

Alladi Krishnaswamy Ayyar defended the Draft Article and argued that it is stricter than American law. He clarified that domicile means permanent home.


Decision of the Assembly:

Ambedkar suggested that all amendments be withdrawn. Some members voluntarily withdrew their amendments, while other amendments which were put to vote were negatived.

The Constituent Assembly adopted Draft Article 5 as introduced by the Drafting Committee on 12th August 1949.