Indian citizenship can be acquired through 5 different ways-
Citizenship by birth–
(1), every person born in India,-
(a) on or after the 26th day of January,1950, but before the 1st day of July, 1987;
(b) on or after the 1st day of July, 1987, but before the commencement of the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2003 and either of whose parents is a citizen of India at the time of his birth;
(c) on or after the commencement of the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2003, where-(i) both of his parents are citizens of India; or
(ii) one of whose parents is a citizen of India and the other is not an illegal migrant at the time of his birth, shall be a citizen of India by birth.
- A person shall not be a citizen of India by virtue of this section if at the time of his birth-(a) 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;(b) his father or mother is an enemy alien and the birth occurs in a place then under occupation by the enemy.
- Citizenship by descent.– (1) A person born outside India shall be a citizen of India by descent,-(a) 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(b) 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:Provided that if the father of a person referred to in clause (a) was a citizen of India by descent only, that person shall not be a citizen of India by virtue of this section unless-
(a) his birth is registered at an Indian consulate within one year of its occurrence or the commencement of this Act, whichever is later, or, with the permission of the Central Government, after the expiry of the said period; or
(b) his father is, at the time of his birth, in service under a Government in India:
Provided further that if either of the parents of a person referred to in clause (b) was a citizen of India by descent only, that person shall not be a citizen of India by virtue of this section unless-
(a) his birth is registered at an Indian consulate within one year of its occurrence or on or after the 10th day of December, 1992, whichever is later, or, with the permission of the Central Government, after the expiry of the said period; or
(b) either of his parents is, at the time of his birth, in service under a Government of India:
Provided also that 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 in such form and in such manner, as may be prescribed,-
(i) within one year of its occurrence or the commencement of the citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2003, whichever is later; or
(ii) with the permission of the Central Government, after the expiry of the said period:
Provided also that no such birth shall be registered unless the parents of such person declare, in such form and in such manner as may be prescribed, that the minor does not hold the passport of another country.
(1A) A minor who is a citizen of India by virtue of his 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.
(2) If the Central Government so directs, a birth shall be deemed for the purposes of this section to have been registered with its permission, notwithstanding that its permission was not obtained before the registration.
(3) For the purposes of the proviso to sub-section (1), any male person born outside undivided India who was, or was deemed to be, a citizen of India at the commencement of the Constitution shall be deemed to be a citizen of India by descent only.
Citizenship by registration.- (1) Subject to the provisions of this section and such other conditions and restrictions as may be prescribed, the Central Government may, on an application made in this behalf, register as a citizen of India any person not being an illegal migrant who is not already such citizen by virtue of the Constitution or of any other provision of this Act if he belongs to any of the following categories, namely:
(a) a person of Indian origin who are ordinarily resident in India for seven years before making an application for registration;
(b) a person of Indian origin who is ordinarily resident in any country or place outside undivided India;
(c) 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.
(d) minor children of persons who are citizens of India;
(e) 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;
(f) a person of full age and capacity who, or either of his parents, was earlier citizen of independent India, and has been residing in India for one year immediately before making an application for registration;
(g) a person of full age and capacity who has been registered as an overseas citizen of India for five years, and who has been residing in India for one year before making an application for registration.
Citizenship by naturalization.– (1) Where an application is made in the prescribed manner by any person of full age and capacity not being an illegal migrant for the grant of a certificate of naturalization to him, the Central Government may, if satisfied that the applicant is qualified for naturalization under the provisions of the Third Schedule, grant to him a certificate of naturalization:
Provided that, 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 specified in the Third Schedule.
(2) The person to whom a certificate of naturalization is granted under sub-section (1) shall, on taking the oath of allegiance in the form specified in the Second Schedule, be a citizen of India by naturalization as from the date on which that certificate is granted.
Termination of citizenship.- (1) Any citizen of India who by naturalization, registration otherwise voluntarily acquires, or has at any time between the 26th January, 1950 and the commencement of this Act, voluntarily acquired the citizenship of another country shall, upon such acquisition or, as the case may be, such commencement, cease to be a citizen of India:
Provided that nothing in this sub-section shall apply to a citizen of India who, during any war in which India may be engaged, voluntarily acquires, the citizenship of another country, until the Central Government otherwise directs.
(2) If any question arises as to whether, when or how any citizen of India has acquired the citizenship of another country, it shall be determined by such authority, in such manner, and having regard to such rules of evidence, as may be prescribed in this behalf.
Offences.- 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.
Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi has some explaining to do to Parliament, on why some documents pertaining to a British company list him as a UK national.
On Monday, the Ethics Committee of Parliament served him a show-cause notice, asking him to confirm if he had declared himself as a British citizen during his stay in the UK. BJP veteran LK Advani heads the Ethics Committee.
In response to the notice, Rahul Gandhi reacted with a terse, “We’ll deal with that.”
Here’s a time-line of how the controversy unfolded:
BJP leader Subramanian Swamy wrote to PM Narendra Modi demanding that the government should strip Rahul Gandhi’s Indian citizenship and parliamentary membership while alleging that he declared himself a British citizen in order to float a private firm in the UK.
In a letter dated November 12, 2015 to the PM, Swamy said, “I am enclosing with this letter some authenticated documents regarding the registration in 2003 and dissolution in 2009 of a Private Ltd. Company in United Kingdom with an address located in London. The name of the company is BACKOPS Limited and the Director and Secretary of this company was Mr. Rahul Gandhi, presently Lok Sabha MP. The incorporation papers of this company No. 4874597 was filed with the Registrar of Companies in England and Wales on August 21, 2003 and the dissolution was on February 17, 2009. Hence I urge you to treat this matter with great urgency and immediately take necessary steps to see if this prima facie evidence is rebuttable, and if not, order that Mr. Rahul Gandhi be stripped of his citizenship, and his membership of the Lok Sabha, forthwith.”
While Rahul has been declared as an Indian in company documents and other annual returns, he has been mentioned as ‘’British’’ with a UK residential address for the returns of 2005, 2006 and 2009.
A defensive Congress admitted in November that it could have been a “typographical” error by an accountant in charge of filing returns. It said, “if somebody has committed an error while uploading, it can be corrected. It is correctable”.
On November 30, 2015, the Supreme Court had struck down a PIL which had sought CBI investigation into the citizenship of Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi. The court had noted that PIL pleas were a medium to alleviate human suffering through good governance and were not meant to target an individual or organization.
In January, BJP’s Delhi MP Maheish Girri had written to Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan saying, “Many contradictory facts against Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi have come up. There is a big mystery over his citizenship now. If he is a citizen of two countries, then it’s a matter of serious concern. It is very important to clear the speculations hovering”.
So, what are the facts?
A perusal of UK’s Companies House records reveals three versions with respect to his nationality: some records relating to Rahul Gandhi’s company, Backops Limited, show him to be a British national; some other records of the company show him as an Indian national; and a third record shows him as British but with a dubious handwriting change with the word ‘’British’’ being scratched out and replaced by ‘’Indian”.
The Companies House has not been available for comment on the existence of these three different records containing discrepancies.
“Hiding details about the nationality of directors is a fraudulent activity, most probably punishable by a fine”, said Raj Ruparelia, Principal at Bassetts Chartered Accountants. “Though there are no obvious tax advantages either for the British or Indian company directors. Perhaps some prospective investors and shareholders might be more inclined to invest in a company that is owned by the British directors. But there is evidence here that one of the directors was aware of this discrepancy and was trying to amend it,” he said.
With the simultaneous existence of three records of differing nationality in relation to his company Backops, Rahul Gandhi seems to be on a sticky wicket and it remains to be seen which way this whole issue pans out.