Recent Changes In Passport Rules, 1980
The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) has reformed the passport rules by changing Passport Rules, 1980 to streamline, liberalize and simplify the process of issue of passport. Based on the recommendations of an inter-ministerial committee consisting of officials from the Ministries of External Affairs and Women and Child Development, the changes have been effected.
With respect to the process in general:
- The application form will now require only the name of one parent, not both.
- Married applicants can apply for passports without submitting their marriage certificates. The need for producing marriage certifications and divorce decrees has been removed.
- The requirement of attestation by notaries/magistrates has been removed. Instead, self-declarations on plain paper would be accepted.
- Birth certificate is no longer the main proof for date of birth. Applicants can submit other official documents like Aadhaar number, PAN card as a proof for date of birth.
With respect to single parents:
- In case the applicant is a separated or divorced person, he/she is no longer required to provide the name of his/her spouse. This will enable single parents to apply passports for their children with ease. Earlier, even renewing a passport required either the father’s consent or a divorce decree. With the changes, single parents can get passports for their children without the name of either the father or the mother being printed in it.
With respect to Children:
- In case of orphaned children, actual proof for date of birth has been dispensed with. Instead, declaration from the head of orphanage confirming the date is made enough.
- In case of adopted and surrogate children, passports can be issued based on a declaration in the absence of the relevant documents.
With respect to the ascetics:
Sadhus and Sanyasins are permitted to mention their spiritual gurus instead of biological parents. However, they have to produce a relevant document that has recorded the name of the guru against the column for parent’s name.
Passport related grievances will be handled on Twitter platform.
The recently introduced changes reduce the bureaucratic impediment and simplify and speed up the process of passport delivery. Hurdles faced by single mothers, orphaned children, and sadhus in procuring passports have been removed. Role of non-government agents and touts have been eliminated.
The changes have been made in view with the ease of doing business policy of the government that has liberalization of rules at its fulcrum. It furthers the promise of good governance by weighing greater trust on public. To shrink the gap for corruption by reducing bureaucratic processes. Genuine applicants were forced to fulfil cumbersome requirements which led many to approach high courts for remedy.
The new procedure has undoubtedly benefitted the citizens of India. Getting a passport ought to be every citizen’s right. Hence, simplifying the procedures for obtaining passports should be made an ongoing exercise.