The Bombay High Court Wednesday issued notice to the Centre and the Regional Passport Office (RPO) with regard to a petition filed by actor Monica Bedi seeking the reissuance of her passport.
Bedi moved court after the RPO in Mumbai failed to decide on her application for reissuance of passport on September 3,2012. Bedis counsel Niteen Pradhan said her form was accepted and she was given an acknowledgement slip. However,since then the authority has neither cleared nor rejected her application.
Bedi,former girlfriend of gangster Abu Salem,claimed that she had lost her passport during her stay in Portugal. She was brought to India with Salem in 2005 and was convicted for submitting false documents in order to procure a passport. In 2007,while releasing her on bail,the Supreme Court had suspended her imprisonment sentence. In 2010,it reduced her punishment to the term already served by her.
Pradhan said the RPOs action violates Article 21 of the Constitution of India as it infringes on Bedis liberty. He said that as per law,a persons passport can only be withheld if he or she has,in the five years preceding the passport applilcation,been convicted for a serious offences like murderor rape. Bedi was convicted only under section 420 (punishment for cheating) and it has been five years since her sentence has been suspended, Pradhan said. Bedi contended that her career has suffering a setback as she cannot travel abroad for her shoots.
Issuing notice to the respondents,Justices V M Kanade and K S Shriram adjourned the case till August 28.