Chapter 6: Citizenship
- Part-2, Article 5-11 of Indian Constitution deals with provision of citizenship.
- Citizenship has been defined as full and equal membership of a political community.
- Citizens expect certain rights from their state.
- The precise nature of the rights granted to citizens may vary from state to state
- But in most democratic countries today they would include some political rights
- Equality of rights and status is one of the basic rights of citizenship.
- Citizenship is about more than the relationship between states and their members.
- It is also about citizen-citizen relations
- These would include not just the legal obligations imposed by states but also a moral obligation to participate in
- Citizens are also considered to be the inheritors and trustees of the culture and natural resources of the country
- One of the rights granted to citizens in our country, and in many others, is freedom of movement (Article 19)
- This right is of particular importance for workers
- The right to protest is an aspect of the freedom of expression guaranteed to citizens in our Constitution, provided protest does not harm the life or property of other people or the State
- Citizens are free to try and influence public opinion and government policy by forming groups, holding demonstrations
- Judiciary may urge the government to address issue concerning to citizenship (e.g- NRC)
- A basic principle of democracy is that disputes should be settled by negotiation and discussion rather than force. This is one of the obligations of citizenship.
|CITIZENSHIP, EQUALITY AND RIGHTS|
· Citizenship is not merely a legal concept. It is also closely related to larger notions of equality and rights
· Civil rights protect the individual’s life, liberty and property.
· Political rights enable the individual to participate in the process of governance.
· Social rights give the individual access to education and employment.
· Together they make it possible for the citizen to lead a life of dignity.
· Supreme Court gave an important decision regarding the rights of slum-dwellers in Bombay in response to a Public Interest Litigation filed by a social activist
· Supreme Court said, “Article 21 of the Constitution which guaranteed the right to life included the right to livelihood. Therefore if pavement dwellers were to be evicted they should first be provided alternative accommodation under the right to shelter.”
13. A national policy on urban street vendors was framed in January 2004 that deals with the problem of Urban Poor
- The policy was intended to provide recognition and regulation for vendors to enable them to carry on their profession without harassment so long as they obeyed government regulations.
14. Slum-dwellers also are becoming aware of their rights and are beginning to organise to demand them.
15. Even a basic political right like the right to vote may be difficult for Slum-dwellers to exercise because to be included in the list of voters a fixed address is required
16. Governments are struggling with the problem of how to protect these Tribal people and their habitat without at the same time endangering development of the country. This is an issue that affects all citizens, not just tribal people.
17. To try and ensure equal rights and opportunities for all citizens cannot be a simple matter for any government.
18. Equal rights for citizens need not mean that uniform policies have to be applied to all people since different groups of people may have different needs.
19. Changes in the world situation, the economy, and society demand new interpretations of the meaning and rights of citizenship
20. Concept of nation state evolved in the modern period. One of the earliest assertions regarding the sovereignty of the nation state and democratic rights of citizens was made by the revolutionaries in France in 1789.
21. Nation states claim that their boundaries define not just a territory but also a unique culture and shared history. The national identity may be expressed through symbols like a flag, national anthem, national language, or certain ceremonial practices, among other things.
22. National identity of a democratic state is supposed to provide citizens with a political identity that can be shared by all the members of the state
23. Culture and language are important features of its national identity and all citizens are expected to assimilate into it in the public aspects of their lives
24. Religious belief is supposed to belong to the private sphere of citizens but sometimes religious symbols and practices may enter into their public lives.
25. Partition of the country did take place in 1947 when differences with the Muslim League could not be resolved.
26. The criteria for granting citizenship to new applicants varies from country to country.
27. India defines itself as a secular, democratic, nation state.
28. The Indian Constitution attempted to accommodate a very diverse society.
29. The provisions about citizenship in the Constitution can be found in Part Two and in subsequent laws passed by Parliament.
30. Article 11 of Indian constitution empowers parliament to make rule & regulations related to citizenship.
31. In India, citizenship can be acquired by birth, descent, registration, naturalisation, or inclusion of territory……
32. The rights and obligations of citizens are listed in the Constitution.
33. There is also a provision that the state should not discriminate against citizens on grounds only of religion, race, caste, sex, place of birth, or any of them.
34. The rights of religious and linguistic minorities are also protected.
35. If no state is willing to accept them and they cannot return home, they become stateless peoples or refugees.
36. They may be forced to live in camps, or as illegal migrants (e.g.- Rohingyas in Myanmar)
37. Often they cannot legally work, or educate their children, or acquire property.
38. The problem is so great that the U.N. has appointed a High Commissioner for Refugees to try to help them
39. India prides itself on providing refuge to persecuted peoples, as it did with the Dalai Lama and his followers in 1959.
40. Entry of people from neighbouring countries has taken place along all the borders of the Indian state and the process continues.
- Only a relatively few of them are eventually granted citizenship.