Passport Officer Cannot Insist On Father’s Consent The place Mom Holds Unique Custody Of Minor: Karnataka Excessive Courtroom
The Karnataka High Court has said that once exclusive custody of a child is granted by the Family Court to a mother, the Regional Passport Officer is not justified in insisting upon the presence of the father of the ward or for his consent for issuing a passport to the child.
A single judge bench of Justice Krishna S Dixit allowed the petition filed by a woman seeking direction to the passport authority to consider the application for issuance of passport in respect of her minor ward whose exclusive custody has been accorded to her by the Family Court.
the bench said,
“Regional Passport Officer is directed to consider the subject application for Passport sans insisting upon the presence or consent of the father of the ward ie, ex-spouse of the 2nd petitioner.”
The government had opposed the plea submitting that the grant of Passport is regulated by the Passport Act, 1967 and the Manual issued thereunder which has got statutory force. It was contended that the Manual prescribes consent of the estranged husband as a pre-condition for the grant of Passport. The said paragraph having not been challenged, the petition is liable to be rejected.
The bench on going through the records said,
“Learned counsel for the petitioners are more than justified in contending that the passport is only a travel document which enables the grantee to pass the port of his country and therefore it is not that passport per se that enables him to travel abroad sans visa to be granted by the intended host country.”
Further the bench noted the family Court has also granted a Divorce Decree in the subject matrimonial cause whereby limited visitation rights have been accorded to the ex-husband of the 2nd petitioner ie, father of the ward.
It then said, “Mere grant of Passport would not per se result into curtailment of visitation rights as such. Thus, the apprehension of the learned Sr. Panel Counsel appearing on behalf of the respondents that such curtailment would occur if visaless travel abroad is possible in select nation-States can be alleviated by prescribing prior permission of the Family Court.”
Accordingly it allowed the petition.
Also Read: Can’t Object To Issue Passports To Children Of Single Parents For Lack Of Court Order: Kerala HC
Case Title: POULAMI BASU v. THE GOVERNMENT OF INDIA
Case NO: WRIT PETITION NO.14716 OF 2022
Citation: 2022 LiveLaw (Kar) 349
Date of Order: 24TH DAY OF AUGUST, 2022
Appearance: Advocate SWAMY MM for petitioner; CGSC SAROJINI MUTHANNA K, FOR R1&R2
Click Here To Read/Download Order