In the shadow of Partition: Legislating and Adjudicating Citizenship in India

The paper interrogates the legal construction of citizenship in the Indian republic between 1950 and 1955 when claims to citizenship was primarily regulated, contested, negotiated and accommodated within the constitutional framework of ‘domicile’ and a deadline bound ‘migration’ enframed in the Indian Constitution. While British India’s ‘Partition’ and the consequent state formation determined the issue of ‘legal belonging’ which was articulated in the language of the constitution, the judicial determination of citizenship became complex and courts consequently had to determine the many meanings of ‘migration’ and ‘domicile’ to comprehend the complexities of legal belonging and an assortment of methods from probing the evidentiary value of official documents to prodding the litigant’s ‘intention’ to stay, were used to adjudicate and establish legal belonging.