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Passport re-issue cannot be denied if court hasn’t taken cognisance of offence: Karnataka HC

Justice M Nagaprasanna also said that it is expected of the Passport Authorities to act in accordance with the clarification issued by the Ministry of External Affairs in 2019.
Last Updated 27 February 2024, 00:39 IST

The high court has said that renewal or re-issuance of passports cannot be denied on the ground that the proceedings are pending against those holders of the passports, especially when the proceedings are at the stage of crime and the concerned court has not taken cognizance of the offence.

Justice M Nagaprasanna also said that it is expected of the Passport Authorities to act in accordance with the clarification issued by the Ministry of External Affairs in 2019.

The petitioner is an advocate from Bengaluru who is also registered at New York State Bar of the United States of America. He had sought renewal of the passport which expired on April 4, 2023. The petitioner claims to have received a letter on March 16, 2023 intimating that an adverse verification report from the police has been received against him and he needs to submit a written explanation.

The petitioner stated that he had submitted documents regarding four pending cases involving him.

These cases are pertaining to seeking maintenance under section 125 of CrPC, seeking protection under section 12 of the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2012 and a case registered under 498A of IPC and Dowry Prohibition Act, all cases filed by his wife.

The petitioner had also filed a counter blast case against his wife, invoking extortion, criminal intimidation and other offences. The authorities had cited these cases and did not renew his passport.

The central government advocate defended the action stating that proceedings are pending in three cases. The court examined section 6(2)(f) of the Passports Act and the October 10, 2019 office memorandum issued by the Ministry of External Affairs.

“In the light of the aforesaid clarification, in cases where the proceedings are pending against the holders of the passports, when they seek renewal or reissuance, it cannot be denied on the ground that the proceedings are pending against those holders of the passports only in cases, where the proceedings are at the stage of crime, and the concerned criminal court has not taken cognizance of the offence. Any other proceeding pending invoking any other law will not become an impediment for the passport authorities for issuance/re-issuance/renewal of passport,” Justice Nagaprasanna said.

The court has issued a direction to passport authorities to consider the application of the petitioner within 2 weeks time.

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(Published 27 February 2024, 00:39 IST)

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