A writ petition was filed by Neera Chandra through Advocate Nipun Singh wherein she challenged the order passed by the respondent, Regional Passport Officer of Ghaziabad. An order was passed against her as she concealed a pendency of a criminal case against her by which her passport was impounded, and a penalty was imposed on her.
Neera Chandra was a passport holder and the validity of her passport was expired. So, for the renewal of the passport she had made an application whereby after the police verification report, the regional passport officer, Ghaziabad issued a show cause notice seeking clarification from the petitioner about the pendency of a criminal case. Hence the petition was filed.
The advocate for the government, Aradhna Chauhan submitted that the grounds for impoundment of passport were mentioned in section 10(3) of the Passport Act, 1967.
The bench of Justice Shashi Kant Gupta and Justice Umesh Kumar said that offences noted by the passport authority were of a minor nature under sections 177 and 188 of IPC and accordingly stated that “non-disclosure of pendency of criminal case could not be taken as a material fact for impounding the passport of the petitioner.”
Further in the case of “Menaka Gandhi v. Union of India”, 1798(1) SCC 248, the bench observed that “there is no doubt about the discretion vested with the Authority in terms of the provisions of section 10 of the Act, but that is not at all mandatory to impound or caused to be impounded the passport or any travel document if proceedings in respect of offence merely alleged to have been committed by the holder of the passport pending in the Court. The pendency of criminal offence against the holder of the passport would not automatically result in impounding of the passport.”
Thereby, the Allahabad High Court in the case of “Neera Chandra v. Union of India & Ors.” held that mere pendency of a criminal case is not a valid reason for impounding a person’s passport.
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