SC bats for Govt's 'only Indians' stand

A Bench headed by Chief Justice KG Balakrishnan while posting the matter for hearing on April 19 observed that only an Indian citizen can represent the country in international competitions.

“You have to be an Indian to participate in such events. Otherwise you have to give up your other citizenship,” the Bench, which also included Justices Deepak Verma and BS Chauhan, said when the petition was mentioned.

The petition was filed by the Centre challenging the decision of Punjab and Haryana High Court which had held that Overseas Citizens of India should be accorded the same status as provided to NRIs for representing India in international sports events.

The High Court had delivered its verdict on March 18 on the petition filed by American-born shooter Shoharab Singh Gill, who has been representing India.
When the Centre mentioned the appeal, senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi, appearing for Gill, said the shooter had been a part of Indian contingent in the past but the government policy was coming in way of his future participation in events for the country.
During the brief hearing, the Bench said, “Why don’t you give up your US citizenship?”.
It took an assurance from Gill’s counsel that when the High Court will hear the matter on Friday he will not press the contempt petition against the Centre.

The High Court had directed the Union Sports Ministry to allow Gill, a shot gun shooter, to represent the country in international events as part of the Indian contingent.
On the issue of High Court verdict according OCI the same status as given to the NRIs, the Bench said, “NRIs are given so many benefits which is another thing. But to represent India you have to be an Indian citizen”.

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