The Article, “Indian Passport- All about it” is submitted by Tshewang Dema, a student of BA.LLB(Hons.) at Lovely Professional University.


INTRODUCTION

An official document issued by a government, certifying the holder’s identity and citizenship and entitling them to travel under its protection to and from foreign countries. The Indian Passport Act was enacted to regulate the free movement of citizens departing out of this country. Under Article 19 of the Constitution[1], the right to free movement is a given fundamental right, and restricting it is considered a gross violation of Article 14 of the Constitution.[2] The Passports Act was created to regulate this as a means of positive reinforcement by not letting those who may hamper the sovereignty and integrity of the country.

Though the entire procedure for making Indian passports is computerized and online now by the ministry of foreign affairs of India still people are facing lots of issues and delays in making their fresh and valid passports. The main problem with the delay of issuing a fresh passport is due to lots of applications stored for police verification in concerned police stations. People prefer local consultants and brokering agency for making their new Indian passport which can be done easily by them without paying any extra consultancy fee.

What is a passport

An Indian passport is a passport issued by the order of the President of India to Indian citizens for the purpose of international travel. It enables the bearer to travel internationally and serves as proof of Indian citizenship as per the Passports Act (1967). In India, passports are issued by the Passport Seva Kendra which is the online portal of the Passport Office where after filling up all the relevant details; the user is then directed to his nearest Regional Passport Office to complete the rest of the formalities. But, enough of how to create the passport, this piece pertains to Impounding of passports in general which are provided for under Section 10 (3) of the Passports Act, 1967.[3] Indian passports are issued at 93 passport offices located across India and at 162 Indian diplomatic missions abroad. 

The Passport Act, of 1967 was enacted and came into existence from 5th May, 1967 by parliament of India for dealing with the issuance of passports and other travel documents incidental thereto. Act also lays special regulation regarding the departure of Indian citizens from India and for other matters connected with. Prior to the Act, the Government of India had issued passports to the citizens in exercise of its power on foreign relations. The Act repealed the Indian Passport Ordinance, 1967 and been enacted by the Act 15 of 1967. The Act by laying rules and regulations also describes the procedures for getting a passport.

Act consists of 27 Sections in brief and explanations provided thereto. The Act applies to whole of India and to the citizens of India who living outside the Country. Under Section 3, person whoever make attempt to depart from India must holds a valid passport or travel document on his behalf. Passport includes a passport which been issued by or under the authority of Government of a Foreign Country and satisfies the conditions which prescribed under the Passport Act, 1920[4] and travel document includes a document which been issued by the Government of a foreign country.

There are certain classes of passports and travel documents a specified in Section 4[5] and passport types includes ordinary, official and diplomatic passport and classification of travel documents namely emergency certificate authorizing a person to enter India, Certificate of identity for the purpose of establishing the identity of the person and other as prescribed. Any person who has to visit a foreign country or countries can make application for the issue of a passport or travel document under the Act by accomplishing certain fees. The Passport authority can refuse the application or issuance of passports and other travel documents as specified in Section 6[6] as the presence of the applicant in a foreign country has been detrimental to the security and integrity of India.

IMPORTANCE OF PASSPORT

  • If anyone is planning to visit any foreign country outside India then in that case you need a valid passport for legal procedures.
  • A passport is the main travel document to travel outside India.
  • Visa is a granted and stamped in the passport booklet to stay in a foreign country for a period of time.
  • International travel details of the passport holder can be found in their passport.
  • A passport is considered to be the identification of citizenship of the passport holder.
  • A passport can also be used as a residence or identity proof.

Difference between passport and VISA.

Visa is official permission that temporarily authorizes us to stay in a foreign country and whereas a passport is a document that certifies our identity during our travels.

PHYSICAL APPEARANCE OF INDIAN PASSPORT

Contemporary ordinary Indian passports have a black or deep bluish-black cover with golden-coloured printing. The Emblem of India is emblazoned in the centre of the front cover. The words “पासपोर्ट” in Devanagari and “Passport” in English are inscribed above the Emblem whereas “भारत गणराज्य” in Devanagari and “The Republic of India” in English are inscribed below the emblem. The standard passport contains 36 pages, but frequent travellers can opt for a passport containing 60 pages. Some of the earlier passports were handwritten.[7]

IDENTITY INFORMATION PAGE

The Bio data page contains the following information:

Type: “P”- Stands for “Personal”, “D”- Stands for “Diplomatic”, “S”- Stands for “Service”, Country code: IND, Passport number, Surname, Given name(s), Nationality, Sex, Date of birth, Place of birth, Place of issue, Date of issue, Date of expiry, Photo of passport holder, Ghost picture of the passport holder (only passports issued since 2013), Signature of the passport holder and the information page ends with the Machine Readable Passport Zone (MRZ).

The Demographics page at the end of the passport book contains the following information: Name of father or legal guardian, Name of mother, Name of spouse, Address, Old passport number and File number.

ELIGIBILITY FOR MAKING INDIAN PASSPORT [8]

Any Indian Citizen with no age limits. If the guardian is possessing a valid Indian passport then Child’s passport can be made on a legal self-affidavit.

  1.  Proof of address (attach one of the following): Applicant’s ration card, a certificate from Employer of reputed companies on letterhead, water /telephone /electricity bill/statement of running bank account/Income Tax Assessment Order /Election Commission ID card, Spouse’s passport copy, parent’s passport copy in case of minors. (NOTE: If any applicant submits only a ration card as proof of address, it should be accompanied by one more proof of address out of the above categories).
  2. Proof of Date of Birth (attach one of the following): Birth certificate issued by a Municipal Authority or district office of the Registrar of Births & Deaths; Date of birth certificate from the school last attended by the applicant or any other recognized educational institution; or an Affidavit sworn before a Magistrate/Notary stating date/place of birth as per the specimen in ANNEXURE ‘A’ by illiterate or semi-illiterate applicants. N.B.: In the case of applicants born on or after 26.01.89, only a Birth Certificate issued by the Municipal Authority or the Office of the Registrar of Births & Deaths is acceptable.
  3.  Citizenship Document if the applicant is a citizen of India by Registration or Naturalization.
  4. Government/Public Sector/Statutory body employees should submit an “Identity Certificate” in original (ANNEXURE B) along with Standard Affidavit Annexure I.
  5.  If the applicant is eligible for “ECNR”[9] attach an attested copy of the supporting document
  6.  If the applicant was repatriated at Government cost, enclose documents to show that the expenditure, if any, incurred by the Government of India on his/her repatriation has been fully refunded to the Government of India, Ministry of External Affairs

Documents required for making an Indian Passport

Birth certificate[10]: Birth certificate issued by the local authority under the government of India or a self-attested copy of the 10th class passed mark sheet. If you are not having a legal birth certificate then you can submit an attested affidavit from any first-class magistrate under the Indian judiciary system.

FEES AND SCHEMES FOR INDIAN PASSPORTS [11]

There are two commonly promoted schemes for issuing a fresh Indian passport by the government of India with fee structure:-

  • Regular passport scheme: under the regular scheme, the applicant fills the online application form on the official website of the passport office of India and then submit the required documents in passport office and after the completion of the verification, a fresh passport is issued to him within time period 40 to 60 days maximum. The fees charged under regular passport scheme are mentioned below:                        
  • Less than 15 years: 1000 Indian Rupees
  • Between 15 years to 18 years:1000 Indian Rupees (5 years validity) and 1500 Indian Rupees (10 years validity, 36 pages)Above 18 years: 1500 Indian Rupees (36 pages, 10 years validity) and 2000 Indian Rupees (60 pages, 10 years validity)Identity Certificate fee: 1000 Indian Rupees (For fresh, Reissue etc in all cases)
  • Urgent (Tatkal) Passport Scheme: under urgent (tatkal) scheme, the applicant fills the online application form on the official website of passport office of India same as the regular passport scheme along with one self-affidavit document as self-declaration, after the completion of entire procedure same as the regular passport scheme, urgent (Tatkal) passport is issued within 7 working days. The fees for Urgent (Tatkal) scheme is certainly higher from regular passport scheme and is mentioned below:
  • Less than 15 years: 3000 Indian Rupees Between 15 years to 18 years: 3000 Indian Rupees (5 years validity) and 3500 Indian Rupees (10 years validity, 36 pages)Above 18 years: 3500 Indian Rupees (36 pages, 10 years validity) and 4000 Indian Rupees (60 pages, 10 years validity)
  • Identity Certificate fee: 1000 Indian Rupees (For fresh, Reissue etc in all cases) the fee structure is likely to be changed and references should be taken from the official website of the passport office in India.

CLASSIFICATION OF INDIAN PASSPORT AS PER COLOR:

Under section 4 (1)[12] of the Passport Act, 1967 passports are divided into three categories:-

  • Dark blue: Regular and Urgent (Tatkal) passports are both for ordinary Indian citizens.
  • White: Issued for people who are going to a foreign country for any task or work offered by the government of India.
  • Maroon: Issued for Indian diplomats and senior government officers of India.

PROCESS FOR MAKING A FRESH INDIAN PASSPORT [13]

The process is long and you’ll still have to go to the passport office, but you definitely won’t need an agent to get the job done as long as you follow these steps.

  1. Go to the Passport Seva website.
  2. Click Register Now in the box titled Apply.
  3. Now fill the form to create an account on the Passport Seva website. You need to select the passport office of the city you’re living in now, not your native place. Also make sure that you enter the name exactly as it appears in your other documents to avoid any problems with your application. The rest of the form is pretty straightforward – it’s just like signing up for any other website.
  4. Click Register when done.
  5. Now that you’ve created your account, return to the Passport Seva website.
  6. Click the green Login button.
  7. Enter your email address and click Continue.
  8. Key in your email, password and the characters in the image. Click Login.
  9. Click Apply for Fresh Passport/Reissue of Passport.
  10. You can download the form, fill it and upload it back to the website, or just fill in the details online. We recommend that you fill the details online to save time. In case you want to download the form anyway, click on “Click here to download the soft copy of the form”, in the first subheading on the page titled Alternative 1.
  11. If you want to fill out the form online, click on Click here to fill the application form online under Alternative 2. We suggest you choose this option as it is the easiest way to apply for your passport.
  12. On the next page, you’ll have to choose between a Fresh passport or Re-issue, a Normal or Tatkal passport, 38 pages or 60 pages. Make the selections as per your requirements, and click Next page.
  13. You have to enter your personal information on the next page, and once again, the information you fill should match your other documents. If you have any doubts, you can refer to this official instruction booklet. Once you’re done, click Submit Application at the bottom right.
  14. After you’ve filled the form, return to the webpage mentioned in step 9.
  15. Click View Saved/Submitted Applications.
  16. You’ll see the application you just submitted. Click the radio button next to it and click Pay and Schedule Appointment.
  17. Select Online Payment and click Next. A list of Passport Seva Kendras from your city will appear on screen along with the date and time of the earliest available appointment.
  18. Select one of these from the drop-down menu next to PSK Location.
  19. Enter the characters in the image next to and click Next.
  20. Click Pay and Book Appointment.
  21. This will now take you to the payment gateway. Complete your payment and you’ll be redirected to the Passport Seva website.
  22. Now you’ll see a page titled Appointment Confirmation with all the details of your appointment at the Passport Seva Kendra (PSK).
  23. Click Print Application Receipt. The next page will show a detailed view of the application – again, click on Print Application Receipt.
  24. On the next page you’ll see a preview of the receipt. Once again, click Print Application Receipt to finally take a printout of the appointment confirmation.
  25. You will need a print of this receipt to enter the Passport Seva Kendra.
  26. You will be given an appointment for document verification. Bring your original documents while verification. This verification will be done in the nearest PSK (Passport Seva Kendra) office from your present residence.
  27. After the document verification, Police verification will start at both the addresses but you need to be present at your Present Address only. You will be asked to provide photocopies of documents submitted along with two passport size photos. Bring two witness and their photo ID Proof while police verification.
  28. Wait for 1 or 2 weeks and you’ll get your passport at your present address.

Common mistakes while filling out the passport application form:

Incomplete mention of full name on the application or spelling mistake of any required detail by the applicant, also while reapplying for reissue cases due to validity expiration, loss or theft of passport application forgetting to mention the required data of the old issued passport.

GENERAL PROBLEMS WHILE FILLING ONLINE MODE SYSTEM [14]

These are some general problems which people face during filling out online forms for making a passport:-

  1.  Illiterate or less educated people are facing lots of trouble while filling up online application for fresh passport under online mode system procedure, also every home or rural areas are not having facilities of computers and internet for following online system method.
  2. Except capital cities of the state, people belonging to the other backward areas and districts are facing huge trouble for document submission and police verification.
  3.  The biggest problem is the process of taking appointment from the passport office, and the official website of passport office frequently gets crash due to web traffic pressure.
  4.  Applicants cannot visit the passport office for fulfilling the formalities as per their connivance, they have to report on the provided appointment date and time given by their concerned area passport office.
  5. The other problem is that officers at passport office process the documents only after showing Fees submission receipt after the deposition of fee by the applicant.
  6.  Applicant who is interested to have a passport is needed to visit the passport office himself on the appointment date which is correct on legal backgrounds, but in case of social background like sickness, old people, small kids etc this procedure becomes hectic and intolerant.

COMMON REASONS FOR REJECTION OF PASSPORT APPLICATIONS

  • Mistakes on the application form: Before start filling out the application form, we should make sure to read through the instructions very carefully. If we enter the wrong information in the wrong place, it could lead to the application being deemed invalid.
  • Incorrect information: If the information provide cannot be verified, is at variance with the supporting documents or is found to be incorrect, it could lead to the rejection of the application.
  • Incorrect documents: When we apply for a passport, we are also required to submit certain documents. These documents relate to proving our identity, our date of birth and our status for the ECR (Emigration Check Required). There is a specific list of documents that has been published by the Ministry of External Affairs and if we deviate from that list then our application is likely to be rejected.
  • Unclear documents: When we apply for a passport, we are required to submit copies of supporting documents. If the copies, which are submitted by us are not legible in a way that obscures the information, or makes it difficult discern it, the chances of a rejection of the application goes up.
  • Fee not paid: When we apply for a passport, we are expected to pay a certain fee for said passport. If we fail to pay the fee in the given time, our application for a passport could be reject.
  • Failure to complete police verification: While we can get the passport even before the police verification is over, the process of the application is not complete till this verification is done. Many a time’s applications get rejected as a result of inconclusive police verification. This can happen if we fail to provide your current address correctly. It can also happen if we are no longer available at the address you have provided. If we apply for a passport and shift before the verification, without informing the police or the passport department, we might end up with a rejected application.
  • Criminal history: If we have a criminal history or cases pending, then our application could be rejected. This could be done to ensure our available in the country for the duration of the trial. In case we have been involved in a criminal investigation but the charges against us were dropped, then we might need to submit the certificate affirming the same. This will also include cases where there are warrants issued in our name.
  • Security reasons: There could be times when the application received could be from a person who is ranking rather high on the most wanted list by law enforcement in the country. Such applications would stand a very high chance of rejection
  • Dues not paid: Let’s say you have taken some big loans or have borrowed a lot on credit cards and have not been very regular with repayments, your application could get rejected. Make sure you’re not buried in debt when you apply for a passport.

CASE LAWS ON REJECTION OF INDIAN PASSPORT

In the Swapna Siju vs Union Of India[15] on 21 December 2009 case, the High Court of Kerala at Ernakulam talked about the rejection of a passport for renewal where the petitioner had once given wrong information on her Date of Birth.

The Court disposed of this writ petition with a direction that in the event of the petitioner producing the original of the Secondary School Leaving Certificate along with attested copies thereof and a certified copy of this judgment, the second respondent shall re-open the petitioner’s application for passport referred to in Ext.P3 letter, process the same and issue a fresh passport to her under the Tatkal scheme if there is no other impediment for the issue of a passport.

Recently, In Asutosh Amrit Patnaik v. State of Orissa & Ors. The Orissa High Court has held that mere pendency of criminal cases cannot be the sole ground to deny renewal of passport of a person. A Single Judge Bench of Justice Biswanath Rath observed,

“…in the opinion of this Court there is in fact no restriction in the renewal of the passport or even grant of passport in the pendency of the criminal proceeding involving the party concerned which may be a time based renewal or grant.”


In Basoo Yadav vs. Union Of India And 4 Others, the Allahabad High Court has observed that the reports with regard to the non-cognizable cases could not be made the basis for rejecting an application for the issuance of a passport if they had not been investigated into.

CONCLUSION

The passport is an essential document for the individual because it is the only acceptable form of identification. As mentioned earlier, the document authenticates the holder’s identity and citizenship. A passport is a formal document issued by an authorized official of a country to one of its citizens that is usually necessary for exit from and reentry into the country, that allows the citizen to travel in a foreign country in accordance with visa requirements, and that requests protection for the citizen while abroad. When you want to travel outside India the first, and most basic, piece of paper you are going to need is a passport. It is the document that establishes your identity as an Indian citizen and has all the visas stamped, or pasted in it. Not only does it serve as a travel document, but it can also even be used as proof of identity or address. But before you can use it for anything, you need to get one.

As time has gone by, new systems have been brought about for passport issuance. One such system was introduced in the year 2010 after the central government approved it. The system known as the Passport Seva Project was implemented in a Public Private Partnership (PPP) mode with Tata Consultancy Services (TCS). Introduced to augment and improve the delivery of passport services to Indian citizens, the system made the entire application process quick and hassle-free.

It is quite tricky because the form includes so many technical and legal words which are quite hard to understand even for a senior secondary pass student. So those who are uneducated making a passport on their own is very difficult. Either they have to hire an agent or they have to face so many difficulties. Next, when they have to go to the passport office, following the whole process over there is very difficult. Because it is very lengthy and tiring, we have to go here and there again and again. Next when we go for police verification, either they will ask for a bribe or they will deny verifying. Legally there is no provision which says that police officers are entitled to get any money for verifying that document. Even sometimes we will find corrupted officers in passport offices as well.

SUGGESTION

Following suggestions to improve the whole process of passport making:

  1. First of all, the online application form needs a lot of improvements. As I said earlier it includes lots of technical language which should be changed. They should have as much easy words as possible.
  2. Secondly, there should be more transparency in system as people found some corruption in passport offices.
  3. Thirdly, the interview round in passport office should be short, easy and transparent. There should be less time consumption. Sometimes people get nervous in this round and give wrong information to officers.
  4. The clear guidelines should be given to police officers that if they found guilty of taking bribe in passport verification, the strict action should be taken against them.
  5. Lastly people should be aware about the fact that they need not to pay any kind of money to any police officer or passport officer.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

http://www.legalcrystal.com/act/134022/passports-act-1967-complete-act INDIAN PASSPORT

https://gadgets.ndtv.com/internet/features/how-to-apply-for-passport-online-632193

https://indiankanoon.org/doc/83644/

https://indiankanoon.org/doc/1715361/

https://portal1.passportindia.gov.in/AppOnlineProject/pdf/passports_act.pdf

https://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/invalid-but-over-a-lakh-indian-handwritten-passports-still-in-circulation/story-CL9WfD5z1nOi8idmpSRptM.html

http://portal1.passportindia.gov.in/Apponlineproject/online/geponlineApp  

https://www.vakilno1.com/legalviews/registration-births-deaths-india.html


[1] Right to Life and Personal Liberty.

[2] Equality before law.

[3] The Indian Passports Act, 1967, §10(3), available at: https://indiankanoon.org/doc/83644/ (last visited on January 3, 2019).

[4] The Passport (Entry into India) Act, 1920, available at: https://indiankanoon.org/doc/1715361/ (last visited on January 3, 2019).

[5] The Passport Act 1967, Classes of passports and travel documents, available at: https://portal1.passportindia.gov.in/AppOnlineProject/pdf/passports_act.pdf (last visited on January 3, 2019).

[6] The Passport Act 1967, Refusal of passports, travel documents, available at: https://portal1.passportindia.gov.in/AppOnlineProject/pdf/passports_act.pdf (last visited on January 3, 2019).

[7] Handwritten passports, available at: https://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/invalid-but-over-a-lakh-indian-handwritten-passports-still-in-circulation/story-CL9WfD5z1nOi8idmpSRptM.html (last visited on January 6, 2019).

[8] Eligibility for passport, available at: https://in.answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20090403002000AAKa1fK (last visited on January 7, 2019).

[9] Emigration Check Not Required

[10] Passport requirements, available at: http://portal1.passportindia.gov.in/Apponlineproject/online/geponlineApp   (last visited on January 7, 2019).

[11] Fees and schemes, available at: http://portal1.passportindia.gov.in/Apponlineproject/online/statustracker (last visited on January 7, 2019).

[12] Passport act, 1967, available at: http://indiankanoon.org/doc/1526429 (last visited on January 7, 2019).

[13] Process of passport making, available at: https://gadgets.ndtv.com/internet/features/how-to-apply-for-passport-online-632193 (last visited on January 7, 2019).

[14]  Problems in passport making, available at: http://www.legalcrystal.com/act/134022/passports-act-1967-complete-act (last visited on January 7, 2019).

[15] AIR WP(C).No. 29955 of 2009(L)

[16] Indian Passport, available at: https://www.bankbazaar.com/passport.html (last visited on January 15, 2019).

[17] All about Registration of Births and Deaths in India, available at: https://www.vakilno1.com/legalviews/registration-births-deaths-india.html (last visited on January 15, 2019).

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