28 Mar 2010

Overseas citizens can represent India in international sports

In a recent decision delivered by the Chief Justice of the Punjab and Haryana High Court, it has been declared that 'Overseas Citizens of India' (OCI) are entitled to participate in international sports tournaments and represent India. The High Court was dealing with a petition of Sorab Singh Gill who challenged the policy framed by the Government of India which had opined that "the best interest of India Sports would be served by ensuring that players who are Indian citizens only represent the country in the National teams" whereas Gill was holding OCI status right since 2007.

It was argued by the Government that since Gill "does not hold a Indian passport and therefore he is not an Indian citizen and thus not entitled to represent India in International Sports events" whereas it was argued on behalf of Gill that the various notifications issued by the Government itself granted "parity with nonresident Indians in respect of all the facilities available to them in economic, financial and educational fields and consequently since he is a student and education is a part of sport, he is entitled to exercise the same right as a NRI."

The High Court, however, was not impressed with the objections of the Government. Holding that Gill as an Overseas Citizen of India was entitled to participate and represent India in international sports competitions, observed as under;

18. We are of the view that there is substance in the plea of learned counsel for the petitioner. From time immemorial schools have also included sports as part of education. All good schools have invariably included sports as part of education for the overall development of a student and it is, therefore, considered a necessary ingredient of education. Those, talented in sports, have also got admission in the educational institutions on such basis thereby reflecting weightage to the performance in sports in the field of education. ...
19. Since an NRI is permitted to participate for India in sports events and facilities analogous to the NRIs, have been granted to the OCIs by a notification dated 11.4.2005, we are satisfied that the petitioner could not be denied such participation.

No comments: