Makrand Chauhan, LL.M., Jindal Global Law School
A modern state is said to be the one which has ushered in a system of democracy and developed legal mechanisms to constrain those in power (the executive) and protect the rights of those perceived as powerless (the people). Most constitutions in such systems strive to grant rights and privileges to the population in the sense that instead of vesting sovereignty in the hands of a few considered the most responsible, it’s the people who end up being the sovereign and are supposed to be served by those in power (public officers). However, most constitutions in such systems (like the Indian constitution) are majorly shaped by concrete events that are saturated in terms of context and are often interpreted as a by-product of a historical process of political nature. Such processes are usually driven by the desire to belong somewhere; and, it invariably happens to be ‘citizenship’, which has almost always been concerned with political relations. However, with citizenship’s multiple meanings and interpretations, the question which lingers is, whether, in a democratic setup, citizenship is a right that must be asserted by the people vested with sovereignty or a legal status governed and regulated by those officially in powerful positions. The essay seeks to reflect and put forward an argument on the same.
KEYWORDS: Citizenship, Nation-state, Sovereignty, Law, Identity