Following complaints of harassment, especially from women, during passport registration procedures, an inter-ministerial panel had recommended the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) to stop printing details of a person’s father, mother or spouse in the passport booklet. In a report submitted to the MEA, the panel had mentioned that inclusion of such details are “irrelevant for immigration purposes either in India or abroad”.
Citing that most countries, especially the developed nations, do not ask for these unnecessary details, as printed on page 35, while issuing the passport booklet, the panel said that the MEA does not need to print the information in the passport booklet, as there had been complaints from women majorly regarding this particular page.
The panel, formed to review the Passport Act 1967 and Passport Rules 1980, comprising officials from the Ministry of Woman and Child Development (WCD), MEA and Central Passport Organisation, said that the only details required for immigration purposes are those on the PAge 2 of the passport booklet, which includes name, sex, nationality, birth and passport details. The panel claimed that there had been complaints, mostly from single, divorced and seperated women who feel uncomfortable revealing unnecessary details.
With the exclusion of certain details from the passport booklet, issues related to single parents, separated/ divorced couples, orphans, and children born through surrogacy or out of wedlock, will be resolved.
The suggestions came following WCD minister Maneka Gandhi’s letter to the External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, focusing on the harrassment faced by a single parent, Priyanka Gupta, whose daughter’s passport didn’t get issued by the authority because she couldn’t mention her father’s name in the booklet.
In her letter, Maneka Gandhi stressed on the fact that the passport guidelines still require the father’s name, despite Delhi High Court’s order in July ruling out the need of its inclusion.