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Prashant Bhushan challenges validity of Passport Act in apex court [READ SLP]

The Supreme Court has today issued notice to Central Government on a petition filed on behalf of well-known public interest lawyer, Prashant Bhushan regarding non-issue of full-validity passport to him (Prashant Bhushan v Union of India & Anr).

The Supreme Court has asked the government to file its reply within three weeks.

This is an appeal against the Delhi high court judgment, which had rejected a similar prayer by Bhushan earlier.

The petition challenges Section 6(2)(f) of the Passports’ Act 1967 read with Notification 570(E) of the Central Government which require a person against whom there is any criminal case pending in any court to obtain an NOC from the concerned court and if the NOC is silent about the duration for which the passport may be issued, the passport shall be issued for only one year instead of the normal validity period of 10 years, applicable in normal cases.

Jayant Bhushan, counsel for the petitioner, argued that government’s own travel advisory as well as international guidelines with regard to travel to many countries require a passport holder to have six months of validity left on his passport (beyond the duration of travel) in order to apply for a passport. Since the petitioner is being repeatedly issued a short validity passport of one year, it has rendered him effectively ineligible to travel abroad for a large part of the year, thereby violating his Right to Life under Article 21 of the Indian Constitution.

Read the Prashant Bhushan passport SLP here (PDF)

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