You are here: Home » PTI Stories » National » News
Business Standard

HC seeks Centre's reply on Bhushan's plea for passport renewal

Press Trust of India  |  New Delhi 

The Delhi High Court today sought response from the Centre on a plea by lawyer Prashant Bhushan seeking a direction for renewal of his passport with full validity of 10 years after he was re-issued a passport only for one year due to pending cases against him.

Justice Rajiv Shakdher issued notice to the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA)and Regional Passport Officer (RPO) on the plea of Bhushan, who has two FIRs lodged against him for staging protest in Delhi against the coal scam, while posting the matter for further hearing on March 16.

"It is very ironic. If the petitioner's passport would have enough pages, why would he have come to you (MEA and RPO)?

"If someone holds a valid passport but against him some minor traffic violation case is filed, then can you stop subsequent re-issue of his passport?" the judge asked.

The court noted "only if a court impounds the passport or puts restrictions on foreign travel, only then passport validity can be restricted".

Bhushan was granted a no-objection-certificate (NOC) for re-issue of his passport on September 2, 2014 but the passport was re-issued to him for a period of only one year which will expire on September 11, 2015, according to his plea, which said such action was "arbitrary, unfair and unreasonable".

Additional Solicitor General Sanjay Jain, appearing for Centre, told the high court that the decision was taken as per the 1993 notification issued by MEA relating to passports and nothing wrong was being done.

"We have followed 1993 notification in public interest," he said.

As per the notification, a person against whom there is a criminal case pending in any court in India must approach the concerned court seeking an order permitting him/her to depart from India.

It also states that even after an NOC from the court concerned is received by an accused, the passport shall be issued or renewed for a short period of one year.

According to the petition, Bhushan being a founding member of India Against Corruption (IAC) had staged protest in Delhi against the coal scam.

It said that though the protest was non-violent and within his right to freedom of speech and expression, two FIRs were registered against him by the police which are pending.

Bhushan had applied for re-issue of passport as pages in the one issued to him in 2006 with a validity of 10 years were finished, it said, adding that his old passport was cancelled and he was informed that he needed to obtain an NOC from the concerned court where criminal cases were pending against him.

He then moved the trial court seeking a no-objection- certificate (NOC) for re-issue of his passport, which was granted on September 2, 2014.

The passport was re-issued to him for a period of one year which will expire on September 11, 2015, it said.

"The action of the respondents in issuing a passport for only one year is arbitrary, unfair and unreasonable..." the plea said.

Dear Reader,

Business Standard has always strived hard to provide up-to-date information and commentary on developments that are of interest to you and have wider political and economic implications for the country and the world. Your encouragement and constant feedback on how to improve our offering have only made our resolve and commitment to these ideals stronger. Even during these difficult times arising out of Covid-19, we continue to remain committed to keeping you informed and updated with credible news, authoritative views and incisive commentary on topical issues of relevance.
We, however, have a request.

As we battle the economic impact of the pandemic, we need your support even more, so that we can continue to offer you more quality content. Our subscription model has seen an encouraging response from many of you, who have subscribed to our online content. More subscription to our online content can only help us achieve the goals of offering you even better and more relevant content. We believe in free, fair and credible journalism. Your support through more subscriptions can help us practise the journalism to which we are committed.

Support quality journalism and subscribe to Business Standard.

Digital Editor

First Published: Fri, February 20 2015. 17:35 IST