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Court holds out ray of hope for overseas citizens

other Updated: Dec 05, 2009 00:17 IST
Pawan Sharma

The Punjab and Haryana High Court on Thursday permitted an Overseas Citizen of India (OCI), Sorab Singh Gill, son of Punjab Director General of Police, to participate in selection trials for the national shooting team.

International skeet shooter Sorab Singh Gill had petitioned the High Court, seeking quashing of November 3, 2009 communication of the Union government whereby he was held ineligible to represent India. The petitioner, born in the USA and doing Law from Panjab University, is an Overseas Citizen of India, duly registered as such in 2007. After his registration as an OCI, the petitioner had represented India in various international events.

“Now it has been conveyed to him that since he is not an Indian citizen, he is not eligible to represent India as part of the national team,” Pavit Singh Mattewal, counsel of the petitioner submitted.

The precise grievance of the petitioner is that after the amendment of the Citizenship Act, the dual citizenship in terms of 'Overseas Citizen of India' has been recognized.

But now the Union Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports have started holding and treating the Overseas Citizens of India as ineligible to represent India in negation of the legislation whereby Overseas Citizenship rights have been conferred.

The counsel for the petitioner submitted that he (the petitioner) had been preparing for selection trials, scheduled between December 5 and December 12, for the Commonwealth Shooting Championship next year, World Cup-1 in March at Mexico and World Cup-2 in April 2010 at Beijing China.

The petitioner stated that in view of the November 3 decision of the Union Government, he will not be permitted to participate in these trials.

“This will cause irreparable damage to the petitioner because he will not be able to compete for Olympic or for any other international event as participation in the trials form the basis for participation in international events.”

Permitting the petitioner to participate in the trials, the Division Bench, headed by Justice Hemant Gupta, stated the participation in the trials would not create any legal or equitable rights in favour of the petitioner.

The Bench posted the matter for December 21 for further hearing.