Manvika Kalia, a 2nd-year law student at LPU School of Law has written this article. It explains What is a Passport? -Eligibility, Classification & Restrictions
WHAT IS A PASSPORT?
A passport is required for persons travelling overseas for education, tourism, pilgrimage, medical treatment, business, or family visits. The expanding economy and globalisation have raised the demand for passports and related services in recent years. The growing demand for passports and related services comes from both large cities and also small towns, necessitating more reach and availability. In May 2010, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) established the Passport Seva Project (PSP) to expand and improve the delivery of passport services to Indian residents.
The project was carried out in a Public Private Partnership (PPP) mode with Tata Consultancy Services, which was chosen through a public competitive procurement process. MEA has retained sovereign and fiduciary duties such as passport verification, grant, and issuance under this programme. MEA owns and controls the essential assets, including data and information.
Passport Seva allows simple, effective, and transparent processes for the distribution of passports and related services. Apart from providing a nationwide networked environment for government employees, it integrates with the State Police for physical verification of applicant’s credentials and with India Post for passport distribution.
ELIGIBILITY FOR GETTING A PASSPORT
Identity Proof: Any of the following documents are acceptable: an Aadhaar card, voter card, PAN card, or driving licence.
Address Proof: Aadhaar card, voter card, PAN card, driving licence, electricity bill, utility bill, rent agreement, utility bill, landline bill, mobile bill, gas connection proof, passbook of a bank account, a certificate from the employer on company letterhead (should be an established company).
Age Proof: Any of the following documents: the birth certificate issued by the local government, declaration given by any orphanage on official letterhead confirming the applicant’s date of birth, educational institutions leaving certification, policy bond issued by the Life Insurance company mentioning the owner’s date of birth.
Other Documents: Income tax evaluation order, academic certificate, and also a copy of the applicant’s spouse’s passport (first and last pages of the passport where the applicant’s name as the partner is indicated).
CLASSIFICATION OF INDIAN PASSPORTS
There are four sorts of Indian passports, each with a specific function. Each of them is colour coded to assist distinguish them from one another. They are:
- Orange Passport: This is a new addition to the collection of Indian passports. These have come into existence in 2018 and are issued to those who have not yet completed their studies beyond the 10th standard. These passport holders are reviewed by ECR at immigration checks in order to ensure the person’s safety.
2. White Passport: This is one of India’s most powerful passports. White passport holders are solely government employees who travel overseas on business. It also includes special treatment that separates them from other passport holders.
3. Maroon Passport: Passports of the maroon colour are provided to elite Indian diplomats and government employees. Diplomats have the right to faster immigration, a smoother immigration process, and other facilities. It allows them to clear certain checks faster than ordinary citizens.
4. Normal Passport: The typical passport is for the average Indian citizen. The blue passport allows immigration officials to tell the difference between a regular citizen and a special diplomat or government official. It contains all of the relevant information, and all of the appropriate checks must be performed.
THE RIGHT TO TRAVEL ABROAD IS A FUNDAMENTAL RIGHT
The Supreme Court stated in Satwant Singh Sawhney v. D. Ramarathnam, Assistant Passport Officer, New Delhi, (SC), 1967 AIR (SC) 1836 that “the compendious expression in personal liberty used in Article 21 included in its ambit the right to go abroad and a person could not be deprived of that right except according to procedure established by law as laid out in Article 21.”
Maneka Gandhi v. Union of India
In Maneka Gandhi v. Union of India, (SC), 1978 AIR (SC) 597, the Supreme Court ruled by a majority that the term “personal liberty” as used in Article 21 of the Constitution includes the right to travel abroad and that no one can be denied that right except in accordance with legal procedures.
In order to comply with that ruling, Parliament adopted the Passports Act in 1967. Which regulates the mechanism by which an application for a passport may be granted entirely or partially, with or without any endorsement, and a passport once issued may subsequently be cancelled or seized. However, just prescribing a procedure would never fulfil the purpose of Article 21. The legal procedure should be just and reasonable.
The question of whether the procedure prescribed by a law that curtails or takes away the freedoms and rights guaranteed by Article 21 is reasonable or not must be considered not in the abstract or on hypothetical considerations such as the provision for a full-dress hearing as in a Court-room trial, but primarily in the context of the purpose which the Act is intended to achieve and of urgent situations which those charged with administering the Act may face.
Second, even complete compliance with the requirements of Article 21 is not the end of the journey. Because a law that prescribes a fair and reasonable procedure for restricting or taking away the personal liberty guaranteed by Article 21 may still also face a challenge under other provisions of the Constitution, such as Articles 14 and 19.
RESTRICTIONS ON GRANTING PASSPORTS
Section 6 requires the passport authority or agency to refuse to issue a passport on one or more of the following grounds and no other:
1. That the applicant may or is likely to participate in activities in the such nation that are detrimental to India’s sovereignty and integrity;
2. That the applicant’s presence in the such country may or is likely to be damaging to India’s security;
3. That the applicant’s presence in the such country may or is likely to jeopardise India’s amicable ties with that or any other country;
4. That the aspirant’s presence in a similar country, in the opinion of the Central Government, isn’t in the public interest;
5. That aspirant isn’t an Indian citizen;
6. That the aspirant was condemned by a court in India for any offence involving moral turpitude and doomed to jail for not lower than two times at any time during the five times incontinently before the date of his operation;
7. That proceedings in relation to an alleged offence committed by the applicant are ongoing before an Indian criminal court;
8. That a warrant or summons for the applicant’s attendance, or a warrant for his arrest, has been issued by a court under any legislation currently in force, or also that any such court has issued an order barring the applicant’s departure from India;
9. That applicant has been repatriated and has not refunded the costs associated with such repatriation.
- Indian Passport- All about it – Social Laws Today