MUMBAI/NEW DELHI, 3 July-2014, Indrani Bagchi & Prafulla Marpakwar/TNN: The passport delivery system could soon become hassle-free and quick. On the directions of the chief passport officer in the ministry of external affairs, Mumbai may lead the way to do away with cumbersome processes that currently delay the issuance of a passport.
Passport delivery to become hassle-free, no police verification in case of renewal
The ministry is set to waive a second police verification in case of passport renewal provided the previous police verification was clear. Fresh guidelines have been issued so that a renewed passport is delivered at the quickest possible time by no longer treating the application for renewal as a fresh one, as is the case till now.
Mumbai police commissioner Rakesh Maria and regional passport officer T D Sharma have put into action a plan that seeks to do away with police verification for other categories of applicants. “Minors, government servants and senior citizens can now go without verification,” Muktesh Pardeshi, chief passport officer in MEA, said.
“I had a long meeting with passport officials on time-bound delivery of passport. We found that on occasions, the police department was blamed for delay in submitting verification certificate. I have drafted a comprehensive action plan. The entire exercise of police verification will be completed within seven working days,” Maria told TOI.
Maria said specific bottlenecks in the police verification process have been identified and stringent measures taken to ensure that the entire exercise is completed in a time-bound period. “It was bringing a bad name to Mumbai Police. In addition, there were charges of corruption too. I am sure, once the new system comes into force, passport delivery will be hassle-free,” Maria said.
Pardeshi told TOI, “We have directed that there should be three categories for police verification in the passport issuance process. First, there is a pre-police verification, which is mandatory for first-time passports. Second, the post-police verification, where the verification can be done after the passport is issued.”
According to a senior official there was delay at several levels — from the newly set up passport seva kendra to the police station. “The delay was not deliberate, but there was lack of proper guidelines, as a result of which there was delay in submitting the police verification documents to the passport office. In the entire process, the special branch of the police station was blamed. We have worked out a comprehensive action plan, there will be no more delays and passport will be delivered within the stipulated period,” he said.
Secondly, on the renewal of passports too, the ministry of external affairs has issued fresh guidelines to ensure that the passport is delivered in the shortest period. So far the convention was that if an application for renewal of passport is submitted, it was treated as a fresh application and there was police verification of residential address and all the documents. Now, it has been made clear that if the earlier police report is clear and the photograph of the applicant is attached in the original police report, there would be no need for fresh police verification. “The revised guidelines will help us in the expeditious delivery of passports, particularly those submitted for renewal,” he said.
However, Pardeshi said the passport issuing officer had some discretionary powers. “If he/she feels police verification is necessary, it will be done.”