Notwithstanding anything in article 5, a person who has migrated to the territory of India from the territory now included in Pakistan shall be deemed to be a citizen of India at the commencement of this Constitution if —
(a) he or either of his parents or any of his grandparents was born in India as defined in the Government of India Act, 1935 (as originally enacted); and
(b) (i) in the case where such person has so migrated before the nineteenth day of July, 1948, he has been ordinarily resident in the territory of India since the date of his migration, or
(ii) in the case where such person has so migrated on or after the nineteenth day of July, 1948, he has been registered as a citizen of India by an officer appointed in that behalf by the Government of the Dominion of India on an application made by him therefor to such officer before the commencement of this Constitution in the form and manner prescribed by that Government:
Provided that no person shall be so registered unless he has been resident in the territory of India for at least six months immediately preceding the date of his application.
Article 6 deals with principles of citizenship of persons who migrated from Pakistan to India during partition.
This Article corresponds to Article 5A of the Draft Constitution.
Constituent Assembly Debate Stage:
The Drafting Committee presented this Article to the Constituent Assembly on 10th August 1949.
The Drafting Committee, according to, Ambedkar found it difficult to account for various cases and situations related to citizenship 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 5A deals with citizenship of people who have come from Pakistan to India. He noted that people who have come before 19th July 1948 automatically become the citizens of India and those after had to follow procedure laid down in Draft Article 5A (b) (ii) and other laws made by the Government of India. The reason for choosing 19th July 1948 as a point of reference was because the Government of India, through an ordinance, set up a ‘Permit System’ from 19th July 1948. This allowed people to migrate to India only after obtaining resettlement or permanent return permits after following the procedure laid down in the ordinance.
Several members proposed amendments to the Draft Article 5A.
Jaspat Roy Kapoor sought to add ‘on account of Civil disturbance or the fear of such disturbances’ in the first clause. He argued that the intention behind this provision was to account for migration of people who found it impossible to stay in Pakistan on account of or fear of disturbances. He added that insertion of this phrase would ensure the motivation behind this provision is made explicit. B.P. Jhunjhunwala proposed a similar amendment and argued that it would bring out the real intention of this provision.
Jaspat Roy Kapoor further argued for deletion of ‘deemed to be’ from the first clause. He noted that this would indicate that the citizenship of migrants is being granted by way of grace rather than a way of right. This amendment saw the support of Shibban Lal Saksena and R.K. Sidhva. R.K. Sidhva remarked that by retaining this phrase, refugees will be given a lower status.
K.T. Shah proposed to add a proviso to clause (i) of clause (b) mandating production of evidence as proof of intention to permanently reside in India. He claimed that Indian citizenship must be a matter of great privilege and not a ‘very commonplace affair, cheap and easy’. He argued that by mandating production of evidence to prove right by descent and indicate intention to permanently reside in India it would ensure that ‘there would be no Quilsings amidst us’.
Thakur Das Bhargava argued for additional requirement being made a part of Draft Article 5A- declaring intention to acquire domicile of India to the satisfaction of authorities.
Jawaharlal Nehru supported the Draft Article 5A as proposed by the Drafting Committee. He stated that the Drafting Committee did a satisfactory job and it is impossible for every possibility to be accounted for. Alladi Krishnaswamy Ayyar, supporting the Draft Article 5A noted that the object of the articles dealing with citizenship was not to establish ‘a code of nationality law’. He pointed out that the one cannot find an example of a constitution which comprehensively deals with all aspects of nationality law.
Brajeshwar Prasad urged for making this article wider and noted that ‘all the people of Pakistan should be invited to come and stay in this country, if they so like'. He emphatically argued that a country’s progress is only based on ‘adherence to moral principles’.
Rohini Kumar Chaudhury made a case for establishing citizenship rights for people of East Bengal. N. Gopalaswami Ayyangar responded that after a series of conferences between Government of India and Assam it was decided not to set up a permit system in East Bengal due to several complications. He assured that the other methods would be adopted to check influx of Muslims from East Bengal to Assam.
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.