HC directs passport officer to reissue passport to Khushboo

HC directs passport officer to reissue passport to Khushboo

 The Madras High Court today directed the Regional Passport Officer here to process actress Khushboo's application for re-issue of passport in her favour.

Justice B Rajendran was passing orders on a petition filed by the actress seeking quashing of the passport officer's December 28 order by which her application for re-issue of passport was returned.

"This court is of the view that the order of return passed by the respondent, refusing to re-issue the passport to the petitioner on the ground that criminal cases are pending against her, cannot be legally sustained. The respondent is therefore directed to process the application of the petitioner and to re-issue or renew the passport in her favour, if it is otherwise in order."

The judge also directed the actress that in the event of going abroad, she shall get necessary permission from the Madurai bench of the high court where 'quash petitions' filed by her are pending by indicating the date of departure from India, date of return, among others, besides intimating the court concerned of her itinerary.

The judge said it is well settled that pendency of criminal cases is not a bar or embargo for the respondent to re-issue the passport to the petitioner with fresh pages in her passport.

"This is more so that there are three cases, according to the petitioner herself, registered against her and they are in various stages. Therefore, till the conclusion of the criminal proceedings, the petitioner cannot be denied the benefit of the passport which has validity till 08.03.2022."

The judge said a central government circular relied on by the respondent in the counter states that passport can be issued to those persons who are facing criminal trial subject to certain conditions stipulated in the notification.

"Thus, it could be evident that there is no specific objection raised by the respondent for re-issuing the passport to the petitioner."

The application was returned only by citing the pendency of the criminal cases against her, "which cannot be said to be a bar or embargo for her to get the passport re-issued in her favour," the judge said.

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