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Citizenship


Citizenship Citizenship of Bangladesh is determined and regulated according to Article 6 of the constitution. Before the constitution came into force on 16 December 1972, the Bangladesh government promulgated the Bangladesh Citizenship (Temporary Provisions) Order, 1972 (President's Order No. 149 of 1972) to regulate citizenship with effect from 26 March 1971. As per Article 2 of the Order, every person is deemed to have been a citizen of Bangladesh:

(i) who or whose father or grandfather was born in the territories now included in Bangladesh and who was a permanent resident of such territories on the 25th day of March 1971, and continues to be so resident; or

(ii) who was a permanent resident of the territories now constituting Bangladesh on the 25th day of March, 1971, and continues to be so resident and is not otherwise disqualified for being a citizen by or under any law for the time being in force.

Provided that if any person is a permanent resident of the territories now comprising Bangladesh or his dependent is, in the course of his employment or for the pursuit of his studies, residing in a country which was at war with, or engaged in military operations against Bangladesh, and is being prevented from returning to Bangladesh, such person, or his dependents, shall be deemed to continue to be resident in Bangladesh.

Article 2b of the Order says, a person would not qualify to be a citizen of Bangladesh if he or she owed, affirmed or acknowledged expressedly or by conduct, allegiance to a foreign state. Under the Order, the government assumed power to grant citizenship of Bangladesh to any person. As provided in the Order the government promulgated the Bangladesh Citizenship (Temporary Provisions) Rules, 1978 to carry out the purposes of the Order. The Rules prescribed different forms for applications for citizenship, certificates of citizenship etc.

In its judgement in the Bangladesh versus Professor Gholam Azam case, the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court of Bangladesh defined a citizen as a person who is a member of an independent political community having rights and obligations under the Constitution and law of the country. It also said that a person who was deemed to be a citizen of Bangladesh under Article 2 was not required to take any oath of allegiance unless he was elected or appointed to any office mentioned in the Third Schedule of the Constitution. It also observed that a passport was considered prima facie evidence of citizenship or nationality of its holder but not conclusive evidence as the practice of issuing passports to non-citizens was widely prevalent amongst nations. Article 15 of the Bangladesh Passport Order, 1973 (President's Order 9 of 1973) provides that the government may issue a passport or travel document to a person who is not a citizen of Bangladesh. [Shahida Begum]