Delhi HC directs MEA to issue passport to Indian Citizen residing in...

Delhi HC directs MEA to issue passport to Indian Citizen residing in Tibetan Refugee Settlement

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The Delhi High Court in the case of Tamding Dorjee v. Govt of India Ministry of External Affairs, comprising a single bench of Justice Vibhu Bakhru directed the Ministry of External Affairs to issue a passport to an Indian Citizen born to parents of Tibetan origin.

In the instant case, the petitioner, an Indian Citizen is residing in a designated Tibetan refugee settlement and had applied for a passport. The application for passport was rejected on the basis of the notification dated 30.05.2017, which required certain conditions to be fulfilled before a passport can be issued to persons born of parents of Tibetan origin.

Some of the conditions are as follows:

“(i) Registration/Refugee Certificate (RC) and Identity Certificate (IC) should be cancelled;

(ii) Applicant should not be staying in any of the designated Tibetan Refugee settlements;”

The Delhi High Court observed that there is no infirmity as regards the first condition as the petitioner is a citizen of India and thus would not be entitled to retain the RC / IC, which is a travel document.

Regarding the second condition, the Delhi High Court discussed the Section 6 of the Passport Act, 1967 which provides for the power of the passport authority to refuse passport and travel documents, which is as follows:

“6. Refusal of passports, travel documents. etc.—

(1) Subject to the other provisions of this Act, the passport authority shall refuse to make an endorsement for visiting any country under clause (b) or clause (c) of sub-section (2) of section 5 on any one or more of the following grounds, and on no other ground, namely:—

(a) that the applicant may, or is likely to, engage in such country in activities prejudicial to the sovereignty and integrity of India;

(b) that the presence of the applicant in such country may, or is likely to, be detrimental to the security of India;

(c) that the presence of the applicant in such country may, or is likely to, prejudice the friendly relations of India with that or any other country;

(d) that in the opinion of the Central Government the presence of the applicant in such country is not in the public interest.

(2) Subject to the other provisions of this Act, the passport authority shall refuse to issue a passport or travel document for visiting any foreign country under clause (c) of sub-section (2) of section 5 on any one or more of the following grounds, and on no other ground, namely:—

(a) that the applicant is not a citizen of India;

(b) that the applicant may, or is likely to, engage outside India in activities prejudicial to the sovereignty and integrity of India;

(c) that the departure of the applicant from India may, or is likely to, be detrimental to the security of India;

(d) that the presence of the applicant outside India may, or is likely to, prejudice the friendly relations of India with any foreign country;

(e) that the applicant has, at any time during the period of five years immediately preceding the date of his application, been convicted by a court in India for any offence involving moral turpitude and sentenced in respect thereof to imprisonment for not less than two years;

(f) that proceedings in respect of an offence alleged to have been committed by the applicant are pending before a criminal court in India;

(g) that a warrant or summons for the appearance, or a warrant for the arrest, of the applicant has been issued by a court under any law for the time being in force or that an order prohibiting the departure from India of the applicant has been made by any such court;

(h) that the applicant has been repatriated and has not reimbursed the expenditure incurred in connection with such repatriation;

(i) that in the opinion of the Central Government the issue of a passport or travel document to the applicant will not be in the public interest.”

It was held that Section 6(2) of the Passport Act, 1967 expressly provides that the passport can be denied only on the ground listed therein and on “no other ground”. In the instant case, none of the grounds of Section 6 of the Passport Act, 1967 are applicable, therefore, the passport facilities cannot be denied to the petitioner based on the notification dated 30.05.2017 and the Ministry of External Affairs was directed process the petitioner’s application for a within four weeks. The petitioner was directed to surrender his RC/IC Card.

Click here to read the judgment.

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