In a recent Judgment, the Hon’ble Karnataka High Court has held that section 6(2)(f) of the Passport Act, will not be applicable in case of renewal of Passport.
Under Section 6(2)(f) of the Passport Act, the authority has the power to refuse issuance of Fresh Passport on the ground of pendency of the criminal case.
Facts of the Case:
Krishna Chiranjeevi Rao (Petitioner) had filed a petition under Article 226 of the Constitution seeking direction to the Passport Authority for allowing his application of Renewal of Passport.
It was submitted before the Court that Petitioner has relocated in the USA as an ERP consultant. He stated that he is residing in the USA along with his family on H1B Visa.
On 22.01.2020 the Petitioner applied for renewal of his Passport before the Indian Consulate, New York, USA. Thereafter on 17.06.2020, the Petitioner received an Email from the Regional Passport Office. The E-mail stated that as per the letter of CBI a case is registered against the Petitioner.
Decision of the Karnataka High Court
The Judgment has been given by Justice Hemant Chandanagoudar. Hon’ble Judge observed that from the reading of Section 6(2)(f) of the Passport Act, it is clear that the said provision does not empower the authority to refuse issuance of Passport in case of renewal.
Karnataka High Court observed that the Passport of the Petitioner neither been refused nor impounded or revoked, therefore the Rules of obtaining Emergency Certificate are not applicable to Petitioner.
It has further been observed that Right of Petitioner to Travel can’t be restricted on the ground that a criminal case is pending against him. This can also not be ground for refusal to renew a passport.
The Judgment of the Supreme Court in the case of Satwant Singh Sawhney was referred by the Court. It was held by the Supreme Court that under Article 21 of the Constitution of India, no person can be deprived of his right travel except according to the procedure established by law.
Hon’ble Judge of Karnataka High Court relied upon the Judgment of Supreme Court in the case of Suresh Nanda vs CBI. In this case the Supreme Court held that despite criminal case filed against the petitioner therein he was entitled to hold the passport since the passport had not been impounded in accordance with the law.
In view of above the Karnataka High Court allowed the Writ Petition and directed the Passport Authority to renew the Passport of the Petitioner for a period of 9 months. The Renewal shall be subject to furnishing Bank Guarantee of Rs. 5,00,000/-
The Court has further directed that the Petitioner shall appear before the competent court, in the case pending before him, within 6 months from the date of renewal of Passport.
In case of default in appearance by the Petitioner, the authorities have been given liberty to cancel the renewal of the Passport and encash the Bank Guarantee.
Ttile: Mr. Krishna Chiranjeevi Rao Palukuri Venkata Vs Union Of India And Others
Case No. Writ Petition No.9141/2020
Coram: Hon’ble Justice Hemant Chandanagoudar
Date of Order: 01/10/2020