No illegality in rejecting application to correct entries in passport made after unexplained delay: Kerala High Court
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No illegality in rejecting application to correct entries in passport made after unexplained delay: Kerala High Court

A Division Bench of the Kerala High Court upheld a Single-Judge order dismissing an aggrieved passport-holder’s application for the correction of details on the ground of “unexplained delay.”

Lydia Suzanne Thomas

In a recent judgment, the Kerala High Court through Chief Justice S Manikumar and Justice Shaji P Chaly rejected a writ petition from a passport-holder seeking directions to the Passport Issuing Authority (PIA) to rectify an erroneously-entered date of birth in his passport (Vasu Sasi v. Union of India and Ors).

The passport-holder (appellant) had sought the rectification of his year of birth, which had been wrongly-entered in his passport as ‘1959’ instead of ‘1965’.

The PIA, following the Passport Manual of 2010 and Office Memoranda of 2015 and 2016, rejected his application which was made after the five-year-limit prescribed in the Memoranda for such an application.

In his application, the appellant did not mention the year in which his passport had originally been issued, recording only the year of its renewal as 2014. On examining the contents of the passport, the Court came to the conclusion that it was originally issued in 2004.

"Therefore, it is explicit that there is an unexplained delay of several years, and the writ appellant himself knew that it cannot be explained, which may be the reason for not specifying the date of original issue of passport, a mandatory requirement to consider an application as per the office memorandums", noted Justice Chaly while authoring the decision for the Bench.

The appellant sought to convince the Court that a 2015 decision of the High Court stated that entries could be rectified at any point (Union of India v. Sunil Kumar). However, the Bench rejected the submission on the ground that the referred judgment was made prior to the notification of the Office Memoranda.

Since the appellant had not challenged the memoranda, he was bound by them, the Bench ruled.

A second contention that the application ought to have been processed in consonance with the Compendium of Instructions/Guidelines (for Passports) issued in 2018 was also rejected by the Court.

The clauses of this compendium that were relied upon by the appellant related to correction of details after the issuance of a new/corrected birth certificate, and not the rectification of entries because of erroneously-entered details.

Since there was no “correction of date of birth” on official records, the appellant was not entitled to relief, the Court held.

"... we do not think that the appellant is entitled to get any benefit out of the same, since the appellant is not having a case that the application was submitted by the appellant based on any new or corrected birth certificate issued by the Authority under the Births and Deaths Act. On the other hand, (the) clause … makes it clear that the Passport Issuing Authority shall reject the case where the old birth certificate or the other date of birth documents which were used to obtain the first passport, were issued even before the new date of birth claimed by the applicant. As discussed above, the original entry in the birth certificate issued by the statutory authority shows the date of birth of the appellant as 20.12.1965 and therefore, even going by the procedure so prescribed, the appellant is not entitled to get any relief out of the same, since there is no correction of date of birth." , the Court said.

Read the Judgment here:

Vasu Sasi v. Union of India and Ors..pdf
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