With the Union government making it clear that it was not possible to grant political asylum to a U.S. citizen residing in India and practising Gandhian ideals, the Supreme Court on Monday asked the government to take a decision in accordance with law, if he applied for citizenship.

A Bench of Justices P. Sathasivam and Anil R. Dave was disposing of a writ petition filed by Jeff Kanaebel, claiming political asylum on the ground that he was in India for the last 15 years, working in villages and practising the philosophy of Mahatma Gandhi.

Attorney-General G.E. Vahanvati informed the court that the petitioner was not entitled to political asylum.

“However he, being a foreign national, has to make a proper application for citizenship and it is for the Government of India to take a decision in accordance with law, if he is otherwise eligible.” The Bench granted two weeks to the petitioner to make an application.

“If such an application is made within the stipulated time, the government is directed to dispose of the same as early as possible in accordance with law. We further make it clear that till such order is being passed and communicated to the petitioner, he has to reside in the place where he is residing at present in Himachal Pradesh and adhere to the laws of this country.”

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