Cannot refuse passport in case of FIR, states HC

Cannot refuse passport in case of FIR, states HC

Saurabh Malik

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 13

The Punjab and Haryana High Court has made it clear that passport cannot be refused to a person on the sole ground of registration of an FIR. The Bench also made it clear that it could only be refused after a criminal court had taken cognisance of the matter.

The judgment by Justice Sanjay Kumar came on a petition filed by Jaswinder Singh against the Union of India and the Regional Passport Officer. The petitioner had moved the High Court claiming that he was not being issued a fresh passport.

Appearing before the Bench, the counsel for the petitioner submitted that the reason for denial of a passport was the registration of an FIR against him in November last year at the Joga police station in Mansa district.

Accepting notice on behalf of the Regional Passport Officer and the Union of India, another counsel sought time to seek instructions in the matter. Justice Kumar, however, asserted the court was of the opinion that there was no necessity to independently adjudicate the aspect as it was no longer “res integra” or an untouched matter.

Justice Kumar added the High Court judgments in the case of “Daler Singh versus the Union of India and others” and “Sahib Jaskaran Singh versus the Union of India and others” held the field as on date.

He asserted the passport authorities, in terms of the judgments, could not refuse or cancel a passport on the ground of registration of an FIR.

Pointing at the provisions of the Passports Act, 1967, Justice Kumar asserted it mandated that such refusal, revocation or cancellation could be only ordered in case proceedings regarding an offence were pending before a criminal court. “Trite to state, unless cognisance is taken by the criminal court, the provisions will not come into play,” Justice Kumar asserted.

Referring to the facts of the case in hand, Justice Kumar added passport couldnot be refused to the petitioner on the sole ground that an FIR had been registered against him.

Disposing of petition, Justice Kumar directed the Regional Passport Officer, Chandigarh, to consider the petitioner’s passport application dated September 4 on its own merits and in accordance with law after duly taking into consideration the settled legalposition. “This exercise shall be completed expeditiously and in any event, not later than fourweeks from the date of receiving the order’s certified copy,” he concluded.

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