The Madras High Court Thursday set aside an order of the regional passport officer rejecting senior DMK leader Durai Murugan's application for re-issue of his passport and directed the authority to consider his plea in accordance with law.
When the petition of Murugan seeking a direction to re-issue his passport came up, Justice Pushpa Satyanarayana said, "... The application of the petitioner was rejected by the respondent on the ground that there were criminal cases pending against the petitioner (in magistrate court), which led to adverse profile report."
"There was no material to show that the magistrate concerned had taken cognisance of the alleged criminal cases, hence it cannot be stated that criminal proceeding was pending before the court," she said.
She observed that the pendency of the FIR on the file of police station cannot be equated with pendency of criminal proceedings before the court.
It was a criminal revision case and cannot be held against the petitioner, who was not even served with any notice.
Besides, even admitting that a criminal revision case is pending, it is only against discharge of the petitioner, and hence cannot be held against the petitioner, she added.
The petitioner is seeking to travel, inter alia, to undergo medical supervisory treatment in Singapore.
In light of the facts coupled with the legal position, the impugned rejection of the petitioner's passport application cannot be sustained and it calls for interference from the court, the judge said.
Therefore, the writ petition is allowed and the rejection order of the regional passport officer issued on November 9 is set aside, she said.
The court then directed the officer to consider the application submitted to re-issue the passport according to the law, if otherwise the application is in order and pass appropriate orders within four weeks from the date of receipt of the order copy and communicate the decision to the petitioner.
Originally, the former minister was issued with a passport in October 2013, which was valid up to October, 2023.
However, the passport booklet was fully used by him for his frequent travels and he applied for re-issuance of another passport on November 9 last.
However, the authority concerned had returned his application following which the petitioner moved the court.
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