Passport renewal cannot be refused on pendency of criminal appeal

Passport renewal cannot be refused on pendency of criminal appeal

Vangala Kasturi Rangacharyulu Vs CBI

Supreme Court

27/09/2021

CrA 1342/2017

About/from the judgment:

The Supreme Court has observed that the Passport Authority cannot refuse renewal of passport merely on the ground of pendency of a criminal appeal. The Court further held that the applicant has to take permission to go abroad only, not for the renewal of the passport.

The bench was hearing the application filed by a man, whose passport was seized after being convicted for offences punishable under Sections 120-B,420, 468, 471, 477 A of the Indian Penal Code read with Section 13 (2) read with Section 13 (1) of the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988.

The appeal filed by him was dismissed by the High Court. However, the sentence was reduced to a period of one year. The appeal against the High Court judgment is pending consideration before the Apex Court.

He filed an application before the Passport authority seeking renewal of his passport. He was orally informed that the renewal of the passport was not being done due to the pendency of the criminal appeal before the Supreme Court. Therefore, by filing an interlocutory application, he approached the Apex Court seeking a direction to the CBI to give no objection for renewal of his passport which expired on November 12, 2017.

The CBI opposed the plea and submitted that renewal of passport can be done only after the applicant obtains permission from the concerned trial court. They referred to the clauses of Section 6.2 of the Passport Act, 1967 to contend that the passport authority has the power to refuse issuance of the passport in view of the pendency of the criminal appeal filed by him.

However, after going through all the facts presented and arguments made, the bench observed: "The refusal of a passport can be only in case where an applicant is convicted during the period of 5 years immediately proceeding the date of application for an offence involving moral turpitude and sentence for imprisonment for not less than two years. Section 6.2 (f) relates to a situation where the applicant is facing trial in a criminal court.

Admittedly, at present, the conviction of the appellant stands still the disposal of the criminal appeal. The sentence which he has to undergo is for a period of one year. The passport authority cannot refuse the renewal of the passport on the ground of pendency of the criminal appeal."

The court, therefore, directed the passport authority to renew the passport of the applicant without raising the objection relating to the pendency of the criminal appeal.

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