Whether possession of an Indian passport necessarily indicates Indian citizenship [IND37395.E]

India's Passports Act, 1967 indicates that normally a person must be a citizen of India to have an Indian passport; however, the same Act also states that the government of India may issue an Indian passport to a person who is not a citizen of India, if it is determined to be in the national interest. The following are the relevant excerpts from the text of the law, as posted on an Indian government Internet Website:

Article 6

(2) Subject to the other provisions of this Act, the passport authority shall refuse to issue a passport or travel document for visiting any foreign country under clause (c) of sub-section (2) of section 5 on any one or more of the following grounds, and on no other ground, namely: -
(a) that the applicant is not a citizen of India; ...

Article 12

(1A) Whoever, not being a citizen of India, -
(a) makes an application for a passport or obtains a passport by suppressing information about his nationality, or
(b) holds a forged passport or any travel document,
shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term which shall not be less than one year but which may extend to five years and with fine which shall not be less than ten thousand rupees but which may extend to fifty thousand rupees.

Article 20

Issue of passports and travel documents to persons who are not citizens of India.
Notwithstanding anything contained in the foregoing provisions relating to issue of a passport or travel document, the Central Government may issue, or cause to be issued, a passport or travel document to a person who is not a citizen of India if that Government is of the opinion that it is necessary so to do in the public interest.

Additional information on the requirement of Indian citizenship for holders of Indian passports can be found in IND18905.E of 15 November 1994, IND21285.E of 1 August 1995 and IND25917.E of 24 December 1996.

This Response was prepared after researching publicly accessible information currently available to the Research Directorate within time constraints. This Response is not, and does not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim to refugee status or asylum.


India. 1967. The Passports Act, 1967. http://indiacode.nic.in/cgi/nph-bwcgi/BASIS/indweb/all/actretr/DDW?W%3DSHTITLE%20%20PH%20IS%20%27passports%27%26M%3D1%26K%3D971%26U%3D1 [Accessed 3 Aug. 2001]