21 July 2023 5:05 AM GMT
The Delhi High Court has observed that an application for renewal of passport of an individual cannot be denied only on the basis of an apprehension that the earlier passports would have been misused.“Denial of passport has the effect of seriously impeding the rights of a citizen. The application for passport can be denied only on valid grounds,” Justice Subramonium Prasad said. The...
The Delhi High Court has observed that an application for renewal of passport of an individual cannot be denied only on the basis of an apprehension that the earlier passports would have been misused.
“Denial of passport has the effect of seriously impeding the rights of a citizen. The application for passport can be denied only on valid grounds,” Justice Subramonium Prasad said.
The court made the observations while setting aside an order issued by JS (PSP) & CPO Appellate Authority upholding an order of the Passport Officer rejecting the request of change in Date of Birth of the passport of one Nishant Singhal.
The Appellate Authority had observed that Singhal obtained a passport which was renewed twice while being a minor with the same Date of Birth i.e. 16.01.2003 as reflected on his Birth Certificate dated 11.02.2003. It also observed that after the second renewal, he was issued a new Birth Certificate on 02.07.2007 with Date of Birth as 16.07.2003.
The Authority also noted that the new Birth Certificate dated 11.02.2003 was issued even before his birth and hence, his request for change of Date of Birth to 16.07.2003 was not bonafide.
It was the petitioner's case that when he was a minor, his parents got him issued a passport with his Date of Birth shown as 16.01.2003 on the basis of the initial birth certificate and that after realizing their mistake, they got his date of birth changed to 16.07.2003 by issuing him a new birth certificate.
Allowing the plea, the court took note of the Office Memorandum issued by the Union Ministry of External Affairs on November 26, 2015, laying down the procedure for change or correction of dates of birth entries in a passport of an applicant already held by him or her.
It further said that Singhal’s request for renewal of passport was denied only considering the fact that a passport was issued to him with Date of Birth as 16.01.2003 on the basis of Birth Certificate dated 11.02.2003 and that it was renewed twice on the basis of the same certificate.
“The Respondent has disregarded the other valid documents submitted by the petitioner on a mere apprehension of fraud and ill-intent. No document on record has been placed by the Respondent No.3 to substantiate their apprehension. Further, no explanation has been provided by the Respondent to establish their basis of rejecting the application of the Petitioner supplemented with validly issued government documents,” the court said.
Noting that Singhal had submitted all the relevant documents and had also given his correct date of birth, the court said that the mistake done by his parents in giving the wrong date of birth cannot be put against him.
“Documents such as the Aadhar Card, 10th and 12th class marksheets which are a valid proof of date of birth, have been produced by the Petitioner. The Passport Authority cannot make a rowing enquiry on its own and also is not competent to decide the veracity of Date of Birth. Every citizen has a legal right to hold a passport and the right can be taken away only in accordance with law. The authorities are bound to follow the procedure prescribed under law and can refuse to renew/cancel a passport only on grounds prescribed in law,” the court said.
While setting aside the impugned order, the court directed the Union Government to issue a fresh passport to Singhal with the correct Date of Birth as 16.07.2003 in accordance with the government documents produced by him.
“No doubt that the Passport authorities have the power to verify the veracity of the documents produced by an applicant substantiating his claim for change of Date of Birth, but they cannot hold that the authority issuing the date of birth certificates have not done their job properly, which argument cannot be accepted,” the court added.
Title: NISHANT SINGHAL v. UNION OF INDIA & ORS.
Citation: 2023 LiveLaw (Del) 613
Click Here To Read Order