Reported By: Salil Tiwari
Last Updated: March 30, 2023, 16:27 IST
The Andhra Pradesh High Court was hearing a bunch of petitions filed against the action of passport authorities in refusing to renew the passport of the petitioners. (Representational File Photo)
The bench of Justice Ravi Nath Tilhari said the ‘issue’ of passport in Section 5 of the Passports Act includes ‘renewal’ of the passport as well
The Andhra Pradesh High Court recently ruled that in cases of renewal of passport where the applicant is facing a criminal trial, he will have to produce an order from the court permitting him to depart from the country.
The bench of Justice Ravi Nath Tilhari said the “issue” of passport in Section 5 of the Passports Act includes “renewal” of the passport as well.
“…while considering the renewal of the passport, the passport authority would be within its jurisdiction and authority to refuse renewal, on the same grounds as in the cases of issuance of the passport for ‘the first time, provided by Section 6 (2) of the Passport Act, the court held.
The court, however, said on producing an order from the court granting permission to travel abroad, the application for renewal will not be rejected on the ground of mere pendency of the criminal case, but it will be subject to compliance of other requirements under the notification of the Central government dates August 25, 1993.
The court was hearing a bunch of petitions filed against the action of the passport authorities in refusing to renew the passport of the petitioners.
A common argument was advanced by the counsel for the petitioners that on mere pendency of the criminal case in a criminal court in India, there cannot be a refusal to renew the passport, under Section 6(2)(f) of the Passport Act.
The counsel asserted that provision of Section 6(2)(f) of the Passport Act applies to issuance of the passport i.e., for the first time, and not to its renewal.
They further contended that though there is column in the Forms prescribed in Part-I of Schedule-III for renewal of the passport, asking for detailed information of the criminal cases if pending against the applicant, but there is no requirement in such Forms of producing the order of the Court before which the criminal case is pending for trial. Consequently, the passport authorities cannot insist for production of such order of the court, the counsel argued.
On the other hand, opposing the pleas, the counsel for the Central government submitted that the competent authority can refuse the passport services to the petitioner under Section 5 (2) (c) of the Passports Act 1967 to be read with Section 6 (2) (f) in view of the pendency of the criminal cases in the court concerned.
The counsel asserted that the provisions of Sections 5 and 6(2) of the Passport Act shall apply for renewal of the passport as well and in case of Section 6 (2) (f), if any criminal case is pending for trial, the passport shall not be renewed unless the applicant produces an order from the concerned court where the criminal case is pending, granting permission to depart.
Deliberating in detail over the controversy raised in the pleas, the single judge bench held that Section 6 (2) of the Passport Act applies to renewal of the passport, as well.
The court held that in a case where clause (f) of Section 6 (2) is attracted, the holder of the passport, for its renewal, will have to produce an order from the court concerned, where the proceedings against him are pending trial in respect of an offence alleged to have been committed by him, permitting him to depart from India.
Moreover, referring to the notification of the Central government’s order, which asks for the submission of an order from the concerned court where a criminal case is pending, the court held that it applies also to the citizen applicants for renewal of the passport even if already departed from India under the passport of which renewal is sought.
Accordingly, the court refused to direct to the passport authorities to renew the petitioners’ passports without insisting on compliance with the notification on August 25, 1993, notwithstanding the pendency of the criminal case in the court concerned for trial.
Read all the Latest India News here
Leave a Reply