RE-ISSUANCE OF PASSPORT ALLOWED BY THE HON’BLE HIGH COURT OF PUNJAB AND HARYANA

Hon’ble Supreme Court of India has observed in the case of

Maneka Gandhi v. Union of India and Another, (1978) 1 SCC 248

 it has been held by this Court in Satwant Singh’s case (supra) that ‘personal liberty’ within the meaning of Article21 includes within its ambit the right to go abroad and consequently no person can be deprived of this right except according to procedure prescribed by law. Prior to the enactment of the Passports Act, 1967, there was no law regulating the right of a person to go abroad and that was the reason why the order of the Passport Officer refusing to issue passport to the petitioner in Satwant Singh’s case (supra) was struck down as invalid. It will be seen at once from the language of Article 21 that the protection it secures is a limited one. It safeguards the right to go abroad against executive interference which is not supported by law; and law here means ‘enacted law’ or ‘State law’ (Vide A.K. Gopalan’s case). Thus, no person can be deprived of his right to go abroad unless there is a law made by the State prescribing the procedure for so depriving him and the deprivation is effected strictly in accordance with such procedure.

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However, Section  6 of the Passport Act, 1967  provides for the refusal of passports , travel documents , etc. It provides that the passport authority or central shall refuse to issue passport on any one or more of the following grounds, and no other ground:

  • that the applicant may, or is likely to, engage in such country in activities prejudicial to the sovereignty and integrity of India:
  • that the presence of the applicant in such country may, or is likely to, be detrimental to the security of India;
  • that the presence of the applicant in such country may, or is likely to, prejudice the friendly relations of India with that or any other country;
  • that in the opinion of the Central Government the presence of the applicant in such country is not in the public interest;
  • that the applicant is not a citizen of India;
  • that the applicant has, at any time during the period of five years immediately preceding the date of his application, been convicted by a court in India for any offence involving moral turpitude and sentenced in respect thereof to imprisonment for not less than two years;
  • that proceedings in respect of an offence alleged to have been committed by the applicant are pending before a criminal court in India;
  • that a warrant or summons for the appearance, or a warrant for the arrest, of the applicant has been issued by a court under any law for the time being in force or that an order prohibiting the departure from India of the applicant has been made by any such court;
  • that the applicant has been repatriated and has not reimbursed the expenditure incurred in connection with such repatriation.

CASE LAW BY SINGH LAWYERS

1. Loveleen Singh vs. Union of India and Others, CWP NO. 28508 Of 2017

Mr. Navkiran Singh for the petitioner.

Facts of the case:

Police authorities have not recommended the issuance of passport to the petitioner  with the remarks that name of petitioner still exists in bad character register ‘A’ of police station Rawalpindi, District Kapurthala which is maintained by police as per Punjab Police Rules, 1934 since the Petitioner petitioner was allegedly involved in a case registered vide FIR no. 53 of 1956 under 225 / 302/307/333/326/332/324//120-B (IPC), Section 27 of Arms Act , 1959 & Section  3(2) i & ii of terrorist & Disruptive ( Prevention) Act at police station GRP Sri Ganganagar , Rajasthan in which he was convicted by the trial court but ultimately on dated 10/09/2002 the petitioner got acquitted by the Supreme court.

On 26/05/2010 he had applied for the issuance of passport but his application was not decided & as a result thereof, he filed CWP No.6085 of 2010, which was disposed of by the Hon’ble High Court of Punjab and Haryana on 26.05.2010 with a direction to consider application of the petitioner, pass appropriate orders and to intimate the same to him. Thereafter, the petitioner was issued passport No.J0533353 on 08.06.2010, which was valid upto 07.06.2020 but inadvertently, name of his wife was mentioned as “Amarjit Akur”. Since the name of his wife “Amarjit Kaur” has wrongly been mentioned as “Amarjit Akur” in the passport and there is no provision for seeking correction in the passport except for applying it again, the petitioner moved an application for the re-issuance of passport with the correct name of his spouse but the passport has not been issued despite the fact that the petitioner is not involved in any criminal case except the one which has been mentioned in the earlier part of this order.

Mr. Navkiran Singh, Counsel for the Petitioner while emphasizing  upon the power of the court which is inferred upon the section 6 of Passport Act, 1972 argued that once the petitioner has been acquitted in the case by the Supreme court on 10.09.2002, the question of keeping the name of the petitioner in bad character register ‘A’ at Police Station Rawalpindi is not justified.

Hon’ble High Court Of Punjab & Haryana held that

The passport was though issued to the petitioner but there was a mistake committed by the respondents in mentioning the name of his spouse as “Amarjit Akur” instead of “Amarjit Kaur”, which led to the whole controversy. The petitioner cannot be penalized for the mistake committed by the respondents themselves in mentioning the name of his souse wrongly and cannot be denied the passport on the ground that his name is existing in the Bad Character Register `A’ though there is no other case in which either he has been convicted or is pending.
Thus, in view of the aforesaid discussion, the present petition is hereby allowed and respondent no.2 is directed to re-issue fresh passport to the petitioner with the correct name of his spouse as “Amarjit Kaur” as early as possible but preferably within a period of one month from the date of receipt of certified copy of this order.