Is somebody unfit for passport fit enough to be home minister?

samirsachdeva

Samir Sachdeva | May 14, 2010



Ramesh Bagwe is not fit enough to get a passport as a variety of criminal charges are pending against him. But he is of course fit enought to be Maharashtra's minister of state for home.

Bagwe's application for renewal of passport was rejected as the passport office got a negative police verification report. During the police verification it was reported that he had been booked in 15 cognizable and four non-cognizable offences. As per the Passports Act 1962, a person can be refused a passport if has been convicted for an offence (attracting two year plus imprisonment),  if proceedings for an offence are pending in a criminal court or if warrants for an arrest are issued against that person.

Does this go against the minister's fundamental rights? Well, in the Maneka Gandhi Vs Union of India case, the court granted relief to Gandhi under Article 21(a) (right to personal liberty) but felt that any procedure established by law could deprive a person of his liberty provided that the process of law while restricting liberty is established, and this process is just, fair and reasonable.

Thus, is it that our passport rules are too stringent or rules regarding a person's qualification to become a minister are too lax? If a person is not fit to get a passport, is he fit enough to be a minister -- and that too home minister?

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