Apply your mind: You cannot doubt a mother's bona fides -HC to passport officials
MUMBAI: A woman estranged from her husband won a battle against passport authorities as well as police officials who had objected to her using a duplicate passport for her five-year-old son. On Tuesday, the Bombay high court not only ruled in the woman's favour but also gave the officials an earful.
Observing that a couple in the midst of a matrimonial dispute is likely to file cross-complaints against each other, a division bench of Justice D K Deshmukh and Justice N D Deshpande held that police officials should apply their minds.
The judges pulled up the Cuffe Parade police, deputy commissioner of police (special branch II) as well as the passport authorities. "You cannot doubt a mother's bona fides. Do you think getting a passport is easy? Why would she take so much trouble if she already has the original passport,'' the judges asked.
The court was hearing a petition filed by 37-year-old Priya Karia (name changed to protect identity), a resident of Cuffe Parade in south Mumbai. Priya moved the high court last month challenging a show cause notice issued by passport authorities in July this year seeking revocation of a duplicate passport issued to her son. Priya, in her petition, claimed that she applied for a duplicate passport for her son after her estranged husband informed her that he had misplaced/lost the boy's original passport.
Priya married Shekhar (name changed) in 2000. The couple had a son in 2005. Priya, in her petition, alleged that she was harassed by her husband and in-laws and was compelled to leave her matrimonial home in June 2009.
Priya claims that Shekhar and his parents didn't allow her to take any valuables and important documents, including her son's passport. She asked Shekhar for the boy's passport as she wanted to go abroad with her mother.
Shekhar filed a complaint with the Cuffe Parade police, saying that their son's original passport was intact and that Priya had sought a duplicate passport on fake grounds. Taking a note of the complaint, DCP-SB II sent an ex-parte report to the passport authorities in June. The passport authorities then issued a show cause notice to Priya.
Representing the passport authorities, advocate Mandar Goswami said the petitioner will be allowed to use the duplicate passport and that the original will be confiscated.