In congruence to the global practices, an inter-ministerial panel has recommended Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) to consider abandoning the practice of printing details of a person’s father, mother or spouse in the passport booklet on page 35in view of the complaints especially from women, of procedural harassment in passport offices.
The committee was constituted three months ago and includes officials from the ministry of Woman and Child (WCD), MEA and Central Passport Organization with the objective to review the Passport Act 1967 and Passport Rules 1980.
This was culminated after WCD Minister Ms Maneka Gandhi wrote to Ms Sushma Swaraj, External Affairs Minister citing a particular instance of Ms Priyanka Gupta, subjected to harassment by the passport office. She underlined the contradictory passport guidelines which are in contrast to the verdict of Delhi High court that prohibits the mandatory requirement of father’s name in government documents.
Ms Gupta was able to garner the support of more than 1 lakh through her online petition, this initiative was taken by Ms Gupta when she was allegedly denied passport to her daughter until she provides the name of the father of her child. Reportedly the father had abandoned the child immediately after her birth.
The recommendation came from the observation that the sought information is irrelevant for immigration purpose either in India or abroad especially developed nations.The information is required but there is no need to print the information in the passport booklets in page 3. Page 2 covers all the important relevant information required for the purpose of immigration
An official from the Ministry of Women and Child Development said “Women — single, separated and divorced — have complained to us that they find it demeaning when asked for irrelevant details that they are often not comfortable revealing,”The suggestion of the committee ensures the dignity of the single parents, separated/divorced couples, orphans and children born through surrogacy or out of wedlock