Bringing major changes in the Citizenship Act, the government has decided that any person who is or had been a citizen of Pakistan and Bangladesh would not be eligible for registration as an overseas Indian card holder.
Besides, overseas Indian cardholders will not be entitled to the rights conferred on Indian nationals regarding equality of opportunity in employment, for election as President, Vice President and appointment of judges of the Supreme Court and high courts.
The cardholders will also not be entitled to be registered as voters and cannot become members of the legislature anywhere in India.
The Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2011, which was passed by Parliament last week, provides for registration as an overseas Indian card holder if the person is a citizen of another country but was a citizen of India at the time or at anytime after the commencement of the Constitution.
A citizen of another country eligible to become a citizen of India at the commencement of the Constitution, citizen of another country but who belonged to a territory that became part of India after August 15, 1947 will also be eligible for registration as an Overseas Indian card holder.
"No person who is or had been a citizen of Pakistan, Bangladesh or such other country as the central government may, by notification in the Official Gazette, specify, shall be eligible for registration as an overseas Indian card holder," the bill, which seeks to remove certain lacunae relating to overseas Indian citizens, says.
It also provides for registration of a spouse of an Indian citizen, who is citizen of another country and whose marriage is also registered abroad.
The central government can relax a provision requiring 12 months as resident in India as one of the qualifications for grant of citizenship by the process of naturalisation, the bill says.