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The Punjab and Haryana High Court has accepted a student's prayer seeking the incorporation of her deceased biological mother's name in her passport and made a direction to the Passport Authority to effect the same.
The Punjab & Haryana High Court recently directed the Regional Passport Officer, Chandigarh to take steps to incorporate the name of a petitioner's deceased biological mother in her passport. The order was passed by Justice BS Walia (Divya Nagpal v. Union of India).
The petition had been preferred by one, Divya, whose mother had an unfortunate early demise when Divya was a child. Her father remarried shortly thereafter.
In her plea, Divya submitted that all of her documents, including her Aadhaar and her educational certificates, recorded her biological mother's name as 'mother', whereas her stepmother was shown as her mother in her passport alone.
Divya sought that her stepmother's name in her passport be replaced with her biological mother's to dispel any possible confusion between her various records during her studies and travels abroad. To this end, she applied to the Passport Authorities to effect a change, to no avail.
The Passport Authority, however, contended that such a change ought to have been effected when the petitioner attained the age of majority, and not thereafter. They relied on a clause of the Passport Manual to argue in this manner.
The clause states
Citing the Madras High Court's ruling in R Gayatri v State of Madras, Divya's counsels, Advocate SS Behl, and Advocate Harpreet Kaur argued that the guidelines of the Passport Manual could not be used to deny the petitioner a change in details, especially as the details were entered correctly in other documents.
The Court accepted the petitioner's submissions and allowed Divya's plea, holding that the Passport Manual's directions were "mere guidelines".
Accordingly, the Court directed the Passport Authority to effect the substitution of Divya's stepmother's name with her biological mother's name and issue a fresh passport within ten days.