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The Delhi High Court has held that the Centre cannot deny passports to Indian citizens staying in designated Tibetan refugee settlements. Justice Vibhu Bakhru observed that the petitioner could not have been denied a passport and directed the authorities to process his application within four weeks. The court was hearing a plea by one Tamding Dorjee, who was born of Tibetan refugee parents in India and is an Indian citizen, challenging the decision of the Ministry of External Affairs denying him a passport. The ministry had relied on a notification passed in May this year which required that certain conditions be fulfilled before a passport could be issued to persons born of parents of Tibetan origin. During the hearing, the court noted that the Centre had failed to point out a provision which entitled the passport authorities to deny passport to an Indian citizen on the basis of where he resided in this country. The court made reference to Section 6 of the Passport Act, which provided for the power of the passport authority to refuse passport and travel documents. It noted that Section 6(2) expressly provided that the passport could be denied only on the ground listed therein and "no other ground".
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