How Article 9 of Indian Constitution can lead to loss of Indian Citizenship and why Indians living abroad are pressing for a change

How Article 9 of Indian Constitution can lead to loss of Indian Citizenship and why Indians living abroad are pressing for a change
  • Article 9 of Indian Constitution prohibits dual citizenship to Indians voluntarily acquiring citizenship of a foreign state.

  • An Indian applying for foreign citizenship on any grounds will lose the Indian citizenship by default.

  • With more than 15.5 million Indian residing outside India on personal and professional reasons, there are calls to amend Article 9 to enable dual citizenship.
Citizenship refers to the legal status of an individual with regards to being the member of the state. The Constitution of India is the supreme authority that governs every law in the country and Articles 5 to 11 deal with citizenship.

The Citizenship Act of 1955 and the subsequent amendments made to it deal with how citizenship in India are acquired or terminated. Article 9 has references to persons who apply for citizenship in a foreign country and defines what happens to their Indian citizenship in such cases.

Why citizenship is important

By virtue of his or her citizenship, a person gets to enjoy the full membership to the given country. The rights that come with citizenship are civil and political rights, legal relationship of the individual to the country, a pledge of his or her loyalty to the state and its interests, duties like paying taxes, serving in the army whenever needed; and respecting and taking pride in the national principles and the country’s values.

What Article 9 means to persons living outside India


Article 9 talks of loss of citizenship which goes with acquisition of the citizenship of another country. As per Article 9, an Indian voluntarily or knowingly acquiring citizenship in a foreign country will lose his or her Indian citizenship. The loss can happen under these three conditions.

-Loss of citizenship by renunciation

A person will lose Indian citizenship if they declare their willingness to renounce Indian citizenship.

-Loss of citizenship by termination

The citizenship of a person will be terminated by default if he or she voluntarily or knowingly becomes the citizen of a foreign country.

Since Article 9 does not give room for dual citizenship, it has become a matter of concern for foreign nationals who face the need of applying for citizenship in other countries on personal or professional reasons.

Why Indians Living Outside India Are Pressing For A Change

UN World Migration report 2018 says more than 15.5 million Indians live outside India for personal and professional reasons. While it is easy to take citizenship of a foreign country, these people do not want to lose their Indian citizenship for having to apply for foreign citizenship due to some arising needs.

A sizable community of Indians taking up citizenship in other countries, claim that this will limit their scope. In the recent past, there are a mounting number of pleas to bring about an amendment to Article 9 and legally permit dual citizenship for Indians so that they can participate in the democratic process even after acquiring the citizenship of a foreign nation.