The Passport Act, 1967

The Passport Act is an Act which provides for the issue of passports and travel documents to regulate the departure from India of citizens of India and for matters incidental or ancillary thereto. Section 3 of The Passport Act 1967 provides that no person shall depart from attempt to depart from India unless he holds a valid passport or travel document. An application to the passport authority accompanied by the prescribed fee for the issue of passport can be made under Section 4.  

Under Section 6 of the Act, the passport authority can refuse to issue passport or travel documents in the interest of sovereignty and integrity of India, security of India etc. Under section 10 clause (3) the passport authority may impound or revoked a passport or travel document if the passport authority is satisfied that the holder of the passport or travel document is in wrongful possession if it has been obtained by the separation of material information or wrong information, if it is in the interest of sovereignty and integrity of India.

Section 12 of the Act provides penalties for contravening (violating) the provisions of the Act. Section 20 of the Act provides that the central government may issue a passport or travel document to a person who is not a citizen of India if that government is of the opinion that it is necessary to do so in the public interest.

In Satwant Singh Sawhney v. Union of India, the Supreme Court held that right to travel abroad is a part of a person’s personal liberty under Article 21.

In order to travel or to depart to another country from India, it is important for the people of India to have passport or valid document so that they can move freely and travel to another country without causing any kind of trouble. But in the recent scenario we have seen that now a days, people can easily issue passport by using fraudulent means which is one of the major problems in our country. Despite of having strict rules and regulation, it is still continuing in our country.

So, the Passport Act, 1967 has been implemented to ensure the law and order regarding the issue of valid document or passport in order to travel to another country without causing any kind of harm, damage or loss. In other words, passport is used to verify one’s country of citizenship. An Indian passport is generally being issued by the Indian Ministry of External Affairs to Indian citizens for the purpose of international travel. There are various types of passport like ordinary passport, official passport and diplomatic passport issued to different categories of people holding different ranks, office and other purposes.

Generally ordinary people get standard passport which may contain information such as the holder’s name, place and date of birth, photograph, signature and other relevant identifying information. Many countries normally allow entry to holders of passports of other countries, sometimes visa is also required to be obtained but this is not an automatic right.

Therefore, the act is enacted to govern the right of citizens to travel freely and they do not face any kind of problems. This act helps the citizen to travel to another country for the purpose of education, work and other relevant work.

This article is authored by Uttara Roy, student of B.Com LL.B (Hons.) at NEF Law College, Guwahati.

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