This post was originally published on 7 November 2016.
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.
Information irrelevant for immigration purposes
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”.
The panel, in its report submitted to MEA, has mentioned that the Ministry must do away with the said details just like the global practice.
In the report, the panel has said that most of the developed nations do not ask for details of father, mother, husband or legal guardian.
It said that while these details may be required but do not need to be printed on page 35 of the passport.
“The only details required for immigration purposes are those printed on page 2 that pertain to the passport holder’s name, sex, nationality, birth and passport details. Women — single, separated and divorced — have complained to us that they find it demeaning when asked for irrelevant details that they are often not comfortable revealing,” an official from the ministry mentioned.
If the suggestion is implemented by the MEA, it will solve most of the issues related to single parents and also separated/ divorced couples, orphans, and children born through surrogacy or out of wedlock.
In order to review the Passport Act 1967 and Passport Rules 1980, the committee comprising of officials from the Ministry of Woman and Child Development (WCD), MEA and Central Passport Organisation was formed over three months ago.
The committee was constituted after WCD Minister Maneka Gandhi wrote to the MEA Sushma Swaraj in which she had highlighted a particular incident of harassment faced by a single parent named Priyanka Gupta.