Why can’t Indian-origin person play for country? court asks


New Delhi: The Delhi High Court Thursday issued notice to the ministry of overseas Indian affairs and the sports ministry for denying playing rights to an Indian-origin player Anant Kumar Sarna.

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Justice S. Muralidhar issued notice to the ministries asking why an Australian citizen who was born in New Delhi cannot play for India. The ministries were asked to file their response by Feb 17.

The court was hearing the case of Sarna, who was born in Delhi and now has Australian citizenship.

In 2008, Sarna was selected in the under-19 squad by Cricket Australia to play in the ICC World cup. His performance was outstanding.

With great hopes in mind, Sarna came back to India in 2009 and wished to play for the country but was turned down due to an impugned policy.

According to the policy, players who are Indian citizens can avail themselves of government assistance to represent India in the national teams representing the country.

This policy decision of December 2008 was also applicable for being included in national teams in international sports events.

Demanding quashing of the policy, Sarna said: “The policy is arbitrary and is a result of the brainchild of certain vested elements who have no regard for the development of sports and act in an autocratic manner without caring for the interest of the particular sport or national pride.”

Sarna also contended that as a result of this policy his future prospects were being adversely affected and could result in bringing an early end to a young career.

He also cited that in 2005 the prime minister had announced grant of citizenship rights to overseas Indians. This policy was in complete violation of the same, he said.