The Delhi High Court on Tuesday said People of Indian Origin (PIO) and Overseas Citizen of India (OCI) cannot represent India in international sports events saying they owe their allegiance to their adopted countries.
Upholding the Centre's policy of not allowing people of Indian origin holding foreign passport to represent the country in a sports event, Justice S Muralidhar said that as long as governemnt does not recognise dual citizenship in all aspects, foreign passport holders should not be permitted to play for India in international events.
"There is a justification in insisting that only Indian passport holders should represent India in an international sporting event. Those with foreign passports obviously owe their allegiance to the countries of which they hold passport," the court said while rejecting the plea of two PIO spokespersons seeking its direction to be allowed to represent India in sports events.
"This court is of the view that the policy decision by the government restricting the right to represent India in international sporting events to Indian passport holders cannot be said to be arbitrary, irrational or unreasonable," the court said.
The court passed the order on petitions filed by two PIO Karan Kumar, a UK-based squash player, and US-based Robert Blanchette, challenging government's policy not to allow them to play for India in international events.
"As long as the policy of the government does not recognise dual citizenship in all aspects, this court cannot accept the submission that even foreign passport holders should be permitted to play for India in international sporting events," the court said.