The Andhra Pradesh High Court has held that where the applicant, who had applied for renewal of passport, was facing a criminal trial in a Criminal Court in India, the applicant will have to produce an order from the Court concerned permitting him to depart from India.

The Bench of Justice Ravi Nath Tilhari held that ""Issue‟ of passport in Section 5 of the Passports Act includes “renewal‟ of the passport as well; While considering the renewal of the passport, the passport authority would be within its jurisdiction and authority to refuse renewal, on the same grounds as in the cases of issuance of the passport for "the first time‟, provided by Section 6 (2) of the Passport Act."

Advocate P. Sree Ramulu Naidu appeared for the petitioner and Central Government Counsel G. Arun Showri appeared for the respondents.

In this case, a bunch of petitions were filed against the action of the passport authorities in refusing to renew the passport of the petitioners on the ground of pendency of criminal case against the petitioners.

The Counsel for the petitioners contended that as per Section 6(2)(f) of the Passport Act 1967 the authorities could not refuse to renew the passport on mere pendency of the criminal case against the petitioners.

The High Court held that Section 6(2) of the Act applied to renewal of passports as well and said that “In a case where clause (f) of Section 6 (2) is attracted, the holder of the passport, for its renewal, will have to produce an order from the Court concerned, where the proceedings against him are pending trial in respect of an offence alleged to have been committed by him, permitting him to depart from India.”

It was also argued by the petitioners that as the Forms prescribed in Part-I of Schedule-III for renewal of the passport, though there was a column asking for the detailed information of the criminal cases if pending against the applicant, but there was no requirement in such Forms of producing the order of the Court before which the criminal case was pending for trial, and consequently, the passport authorities could not insist for production of such order of the Court.

The High Court rejected the argument raised and observed that the information with respect to the pendency of the criminal case was not sought without any purpose or object. The condition to produce the order from concerned court was imposed in exercise of the powers conferred under Section 22 of the Act, upon the Central Government.

“...therefore, even if there is no specific column with respect to the production of such order from the Court concerned, it cannot be said that the applicant for renewal of the passport has not to comply with the conditions of the notification.” the High Court further observed.

Accordingly, the petitions were disposed of and the prayer of writ petitioners seeking direction to the respondent passport authorities to renew the passport without insisting on compliance with the notification dated August 25, 1993, notwithstanding the pendency of the criminal case in the Court concerned for trial, was rejected

Cause Title- Kadar Valli Shaik v. The Union of India, Ministry of External Affairs, its Secretary, New Delhi & 3 ors.

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