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Instrument Regarding Immigration and citizenship

January 18, 1954


New Delhi, 18 January 1954

WHEREAS certain proposals relating to illicit immigration of Indians into and citizenship rights for persons of Indian origin in Ceylon were made in an instrument signed at New Delhi on the eighteenth day of January in the year one thousand nine hundred and fifty-four by the respective Plenipotentiaries and Representatives of the Government of India and the Government of Ceylon duly authorised for that purpose, which instrument is, word for word, as follows : "The Prime Ministers of Ceylon and India accompanied by some of their colleagues, met in conference in New Delhi on January 16, 17 and 18, 1954, and considered fully the problems of people of Indian origin in Ceylon. As a result of these discussions, certain proposals were framed by them, which will now be placed before their respective Governments. These proposals are Illicit Immigration

  • Both Governments are determined to suppress illicit immigration traffic between the two countries and will take all possible steps, in close cooperation with each other towards that end. Periodical meetings between high Police authorities on either side of the Palk Strait may be held and information relating to illicit movements exchanged.
  • The Government of Ceylon propose to undertake the preparation of a register of all adult residents who are not already on the electoral register and will maintain such registers up-to-date. When this registration is completed, any person not so registered will, if his mother-tongue is an Indian language, be presumed to be an illicit immigrant from India and liable to deportation and the Indian High Commissioner will extend all facilities for implementation of such deportation.
  • The Government of Ceylon may proceed with the Immigrants and Emigrants Amendment Bill which throws on the accused the onus of proof that h6 is not an illicit immigrant; but before that the Government of Ceylon will give an opportunity to the Indian High Commissioner to satisfy himself that a prime facie case exists for such prosecution, the final decision being that of the Government of Ceylon. Citizenship
  • The registration of citizens under the Indian and Pakistani (Citizenship) Act will be expedited and every endeavour will be made to complete the disposal of peniing applications within two years.
  • All persons registered under this Act may be placed by the Government of Ceylon on a separate electoral register, particularly in view of the fact that the bulk of the citizens do not speak the language of the area in which they reside. This arrangement will last for a period of only 10 years. The Government of Ceylon agree that in certain constituencies where the number of registered citizen voters is not likely to exceed 250, they will be put on the national register.
  • Citizens whose names are placed in the separate electoral register will be entitled to elect a certain number of members to the House of Representatives, the number being determined after consultation with the Prime Minister of India. The Government of Ceylon expect to complete their action in this respect before the present Parliament is dissolved in 1957.
  • In regard to those persons who are not so registered, it would be open to them to register themselves as Indian citizens, if they so choose, at the office of the Indian High Commissioner in accordance with the provisions of Article 8 of the Constitution of India. It is noted that Ceylon proposes to offer special inducements to encourage such registration and that these inducements will be announced from time to time. The Government of India will offer administrative and similar facilities to all persons of Indian origin to register themselves as Indian citizens under the Constitution of India, if they so choose, and will also give publicity to the availability of such facilities.
  • Both Prime Ministers are desirous of continuing the present practice of close consultation between the two Governments in matters affecting their mutual interests.


Prime Minister of Ceylon


. Prime Minister of India.


18th January, 1954.

RATIFICATION BY INDIA AND WHEREAS these proposals having been accepted by the Government of India have become an agreement, and whereas it is fit and expedient to confirm and ratify the aforesaid agreement relating to illicit immigration of Indians into and citizenship rights for persons of Indian origin in Ceylon.

Now, THEREFORE, be it known that the Government of India, having seen and considered the said agreement relating to illicit immigration of Indians into and citizenship rights for persons of Indian origin in Ceylon, do hereby confirm and ratify the same, in every Article and Clause thereof; faithfully undertaking to perform and observe all the stipulations therein contained. IN TESTIMONY WHEREOF, I, Rajendra Prasad, President of India, have signed these Presents and afflixed hereunto my seal at New Delhi, this 13th day of February of the year one thousand nine hundred and fifty-four.

(Sd.) RAJENDRA PRASAD President of India.


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