NEW DELHI: Prior police verification for issue of fresh passports may soon be a thing of the past, with the ministry of external affairs (MEA) proposing to rely on aadhaar card for identification of the applicant and on the National Crime Records Bureau’s (NCRB) database for validation of his/her criminal antecedents. With the applicant’s self-declaration on aspects like citizenship, criminal antecedents, criminal proceedings, summons/warrants etc also thrown in, the government may soon start issuing fresh passports on a post-verification basis.
The simplified police verification system seeks to resolve issues raised from time to time regarding prior police verification and consequent delay in issuance of passports.
According to the revised modalities proposed by the consular, passport and visa division of the MEA and discussed with the home ministry, law ministry and Intelligence Bureau on Monday, the government is, on the directions of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, making Aadhaar card a mandatory requirement for issue of passports. The MEA is already coordinating with UIDAI to implement this, and the process may be completed by the end of this month. In case the applicant does not have an Aadhaar card, his Aadhaar enrolment number should suffice.
Incidentally, the government’s proposal to make aadhaar card mandatory for issue of fresh passport, comes in spite of Supreme Court’s ruling on September 24 that Aadhaar cannot be mandatory for accessing public services and subsidies.
As regards verification of criminal antecedents of the passport applicant, MEA has been assured by NCRB that it will have a system in place in the next two months, which will help it validate criminal antecedents of the applicant based on NCRB database, before issue of passport.
MEA is of the opinion that the identity of an applicant carrying an aadhaar card or one who has applied for it, is already established to a major extent. Added to this, NCRB’s validation and the applicant’s self-declaration should be enough to issue a fresh passport on post police verification basis.
As per current practice, passports are issued within a week of receipt of police verification reports. Prior police verification is mandatory for first-time issue of passports, unless applied under tatkal category. In the case of minor applicants, re-issue cases, tatkal applications etc, police verification is either not required or done on post-verification basis.
For tatkal applicants, additional documents including verification certificate are required. In the case of re-issue, passports are issued without reference to the police, based on self-declaration of the applicant relating to his/her nationality, criminal antecedents, pendency of court proceedings, warrant/summons etc.
As per the new modalities, the applicant may be given the address of the police station responsible for police verification, at the time of issue of passport. This will help him/her actively pursue and complete the process of police verification before undertaking foreign travel.
Any wrong declaration by the applicant would entail impounding or revocation of passport.