Get rid of police scrutiny for passports: Janaagraha

There is no definition or clarity on what police verification is.

BENGALURU: “Police verification which is mandatory for issuing passport is unscientific, ineffective and redundant. Dispensing with the police verification process could eliminate corruption in the police department dealing with the passport work,” states a report, submitted by a committee headed by former DG&IGP S.T. Ramesh.

The report, released by Jana Mahiti of Janaagraha on Monday, was prepared with over two years of studies with a detailed analysis of reports of corruption procured from their online portal I-Paid-a-Bribe. The report stated that not only corruption can be eliminated if the Regional Passport Office (RPO) makes amendments to the Schedule III of Passport Act 1980 to dispense with the verification process, but it also can enhance its service by adopting a few additional steps, like obtaining information from multiple agencies, while issuing passports.

The report was released by former Lokayukta Justice N. Santosh Hegde. Mr Ramesh, former DG&IGP R. Srikumar, former Chief Secretary Dr Malati Das and Prof. Nikos Passas, professor of criminal justice, NorthEastern University, USA were present. Regional Passport Officer Bangalore P.S. Karthigeyan ade a brief visit and interacted with the participants. Mr Ramesh said, “Crowd sourced information procured from the I-Paid-a-Bribe portal found 14% of the complaints are from corruption in police verification of passports, which is one of three sources of corruption in police department along with traffic violations and filing of FIRs.”

He said, “The cumulative figure from 2010 to 2014 of bribes paid for passport verification amounted to Rs 38,17,821 of the total number of reported cases of 1,149. There is no definition or clarity on what police verification is. There is no digitized national database with the police available to check if a person had committed a crime in other states and had applied for a passport in the city.”

( Source : Deccan Chronicle. )
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