Del HC | Passport authority cannot rely on S. 6 of Passport Act for refusing to renew passport

Delhi High Court: Suresh Kumar Kait, J., while disposing of an application, held that Section 6 of the Passport Act, 1967 has no applicability to a case where the applicant applies for renewal of his passport.

The material facts of the case are that the applicant was a convict under Section 13(1)(d) of the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988. He held a valid Indian Passport, which was due to expire on 1-6-2019. When the applicant approached the Regional Passport Office for renewal of his passport, the officials said that his application would not be entertained unless specific permission is obtained from the High Court. Vide the instant application, the applicant sought directions to the Regional Passport Authority for the renewal of his passport.

The High Court referred to Section 6 of the Passports Act, 1967, as per which, the passport authority shall refuse to issue a property or travel document and to make an endorsement for visiting any country under clause (b) or clause (c) of sub section (2) of Section 6 on any one or more of the grounds mentioned therein. It was further observed: “In the said Section, the only provision is to refusal to issue a passport or an endorsement for visiting any country. In the said provision, nowhere it is mentioned that even on renewal of the passport, the authority can refuse to renew the passport.”

The Court noted that the case of the applicant was for the renewal of the passport. Neither he was asking for a new passport not seeking a re-issue or replacement of lost or damaged passport. In such circumstances, it was held that Section 6 had no application to the instant case.

Though the Passport Authority was not made party in the instant application, the High Court exercised powers under Article 226 of the Constitution of India, and accordingly, directed the said authority to renew the applicant’s passport within 15 days from the receipt of this order. [Ashok Khanna v. CBI, 2019 SCC OnLine Del 11080, decided on 7-11-2019]

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