Question: By mistake, two Indian passports came to be issued to me. On the basis of the first passport application, there was no response for several months. Meanwhile, I shifted to another place due to transfer. I applied for passport at the new place and I got my passport. However, later on, I got passport from the first place also, though after a lot of delay. My question is whether it is an offence to hold two Indian passports at the same time? Is it an offence? What is the maximum punishment for it?
Answer: The Passport Act, 1967, does not contain a specific provision barring holding of two passports. However, there is a provision in the form of Rule 13 in the Passport Rules, 1980, which prohibits holding of two passports, and it is reproduced below:
“13. Issue of additional passport or travel document in special circumstances.- A person holding a passport or travel document shall not be entitled to another passport or travel document unless he surrenders to the passport authority the passport or travel document already held by him:
Provided that separate passports or travel documents may be issued to the same person in respect of different countries if it is necessary so to do for facilitating his visits to such countries.”
Contravening the above Rule is an offence under Section 12(3) of the Passport Act and is punishable with imprisonment for a term which may extend to three months or with fine which may extend to five hundred rupees or with both.
Likewise, there is a column in the Passport Application Form which requires the applicant to furnish details of the latest held / existing passport (whether Ordinary or Diplomatic or Official passport). In case you had earlier applied for the passport but it was not issued for whatever reason, then also you are required to furnish details of such Application (File) No. and date.
So, you are supposed to provide details of your last held or existing passport and even of an application made for getting passport if no passport was issued on such application.
In case false information is furnished or material information is suppressed knowingly while making an application for passport, then it is an offence punishable under Section 12(1)(b) of the Passport Act. It is laid down that it shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term which may extend to two years or with fine which may extend to five thousand rupees or with both.
Therefore, holding of two Indian passports may amount to an offence under Section 12(3) of the Passport Act, 1967, and in addition, it may also amount to an offence under Section 12(1)(b) of the said Act if false information was furnished or material information was suppressed knowingly while making application for second passport.