Ex-US Navy officer can't get asylum: Centre tell SC

Ex-US Navy officer can't get asylum: Centre tell SC

Attorney General G E Vahanvati informed the apex court that Jeff Knaebel is not entitled to such relief and he can make an application for getting Indian citizenship.

The government's response came on a petition of Knaebel seeking the court's direction to grant him the protection.A bench of Justices P Sathasivam and Anil R Dave, after hearing government's contention, granted Knaebel, who had fought in the Vietnam war between 1964-1967, to file an application for citizenship within two weeks.

"Petitioner is granted two weeks time from today to make an application to the government for citizenship and if such an application is made within the stipulated time, the government is directed to dispose of the same expeditiously as early as possible in accordance with law," the court said.

Condemning the "imperialistic" policies of the US government, Knaebel had on June 19, 2009, destroyed his passport at the memorial of Mahatma Gandhi at Rajghat.According to Knaebel, his act of destroying the passport would be considered as an act of "treason and sedition" by the US government which would prosecute him and hence sought asylum in India.

Knaebel has been in India since 1995 on an extended visa, crisscrossing the country and spreading the message of Mahatma Gandhi.