Chennai: Madras High Court has pointed out that the order passed by the Chennai Regional Passport Officer (RPO) refusing to re-issue the passport to popular film star and AICC spokesperson Khushboo Sundar on the ground that criminal cases are pending against her, cannot be legally sustained.
The court has directed RPO to re-issue or renew her passport if it is otherwise in order. Passing orders on a petition from Kushboo Sundar, Justice B. Rajendran, however, made it clear that before departing India for the first time after getting the passport, the petitioner should get necessary permission from the Madurai Bench of this court where the quash petitions filed by her are pending by indicating the date of departure from India, date of return, contact address, place (s) of visit etc., and thereafter by intimating the concerned court of her itinerary before leaving India.
Pendency of criminal cases was not a bar or embargo for RPO to re-issue the passport issued to her with fresh pages in her passport. Therefore, till the conclusion of the criminal proceedings, the petitioner cannot be denied the benefit of the passport which has validity till March 8, 2022, the judge added.
It was seen from the counter affidavit of RPO that it has informed the petitioner to get necessary permission from the criminal court before proceeding to travel abroad. A central government circular dated August 25, 1993 says that passport can be issued to persons facing criminal trial subject to certain conditions stipulated in the notification.
RPO returned the application of the petitioner only by citing pendency of criminal cases against her, which cannot be said to be a bar or embargo for her to get the passport re-issued in her favour, the judge added....