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"Application Is Vague": Bombay high Court While Issuing Notice On Kangana Ranaut's Plea For Passport Renewal

Sharmeen Hakim
15 Jun 2021 9:08 AM GMT
Application Is Vague: Bombay high Court While Issuing Notice On Kangana Ranauts Plea For Passport Renewal
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The Bombay High Court on Monday observed that Kangana Ranaut was seeking directions against the Passport Authority of India to renew her passport but failed to make them a party to her plea. Justices PB Varale and SP Tavade were hearing Ranaut's plea seeking directions to the passport authorities to renew/re-issue her passport, alleging they objected the same owing to the sedition...

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The Bombay High Court on Monday observed that Kangana Ranaut was seeking directions against the Passport Authority of India to renew her passport but failed to make them a party to her plea.

Justices PB Varale and SP Tavade were hearing Ranaut's plea seeking directions to the passport authorities to renew/re-issue her passport, alleging they objected the same owing to the sedition FIR pending against her.

In her application, Kangana has said that she needs to travel abroad for her professional commitments and had applied for re-issuance, as her passport is set to expire on September 15, 2021. Specifically, to finish shooting the second schedule of her upcoming Hindi movie 'Dhakkad,' which will commence in Hungary from June 15 to August 30.

"Which is the competent authority who refused you? You are seeking directions against the Passport Authority of India without making them a party?...This is all oral. Renewal of a passport is the business of the Passport Authority, not a PSI of a police station to whom an application was made, and you have approached the court against it…" the court observed.

The court's statements were in response to Ranaut's counsel, Rizwan Siddiquee's submissions, that when she went to fill her passport renewal form, she was orally told that the sedition FIR would be a problem.

The bench, however, allowed Siddiquee to amend the application and add the Passport Authority of India as a party. It issued notice to the respondents and posted the matter for hearing on June 25.

Case

The Bandra police registered an FIR against Ranaut and her sister Rangoli Chandel for offences punishable under Sections 153A (promoting enmity between different groups on the grounds of religion, race, etc), 295A (deliberate acts hurting religious sentiments) and 124-A (sedition) r/w 34 of IPC, for allegedly trying to create a communal divide through social media.

The FIR was registered following a Metropolitan Magistrate Court's order on a private complaint by casting director Munnawar Ali Sayyed, last October. Sayyed alleged that the sisters deliberately tweeted to bring hatred and excite disaffection towards the Maharashtra Government.

The sisters challenged the Magistrate's order and the FIR on technical grounds and were granted protection against coercive action. Kangana filed the present plea in her quashing petition.

During the hearing on Tuesday, the complainant represented by advocate Rizwan Merchant said he was raising a preliminary objection to the petition as there was no order of the passport authority attached to the petition, rejecting renewal. He added, that there is an appropriate forum to appeal against renewal.

The court also pointed out that Kangana's sister was unnecessarily made a party.

Siddiquee said that he would make the necessary amendment. He added that his client was informed that the FIR woud be a problem when she went to fill the form. "They said that if you take a NOC from the High Court it can be done."

The bench, however noted that the Passport Authority is a necessary party if directions are sought against them.

"Inadvertently, the competent authority, the Passport Authority of India is not made party to the application even though the principal prayer is for renewal of passport. The counsel seeks permission to add passport authority as respondent no.3," the bench noted while issuing notice and allowing the amendment.


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