Sorab Gill’s participation in the ongoing ISSF World Cup at Dorset, UK, has given hope to the People of Indian Origin (PIO) and Overseas Citizens of India (OCI) sportspersons that they too can represent the country in international competitions.
A Sports Ministry order dated December 26, 2008, had barred the OCI and PIO sportspersons from representing the country in international events.
The order stated that only players who were Indian citizens could represent the country.
But the Punjab-based Gill, who is an American passport holder and got the OCI status on April 4, 2007, got an interim relief from the Supreme Court and competed in the MQS (Minimum Qualification Score) category in the skeet event at the World Cup.
“Whatever relief the court has given to Sorab should be extended to every OCI and PIO,” said Rahul Kumar, father of squash player Karm Kumar, who is also an OCI sportsperson.
“We want that all OCIs and PIOs should be allowed to represent the country,” he added. Earlier, 22-year-old Gill, son of Punjab DGP, PS Gill, had challenged the ministry’s policy in the Punjab and Haryana High Court, which directed the ministry to allow him to represent the country in international events as part of the Indian contingent.
But the ministry didn’t follow the HC ruling and withdrew the entire Indian skeet team from the Asian Clay Shooting Championship in Bangkok in March, as Gill was part of it.
The ministry then challenged the Punjab and Haryana HC judgment in the Supreme Court. But the apex court rejected the plea for staying the HC order.
A bench headed by Justice B. Sudarshan Reddy, which issued notices to Gill and the National Rifle Association of India (NRAI), gave them four weeks to respond. It also gave two weeks to the ministry to file its rejoinder to Gill’s reply. The NRAI is supporting Gill.
The case is likely to come up for hearing after the summer vacation.