THE GOVERNMENT Friday said that rules for obtaining passports have been eased for various categories, including single mothers, orphans, sadhus and adopted children.
According to the new norms, a single parent will not have to disclose the name of his or her partner; the passport need only have the name of one of the parents or the legal guardian. Even those separated or divorced do not have to disclose their spouse’s name or furnish the divorce decree, the government said.
This has been a long-standing demand from women’s groups, and recommended to the Ministry of External Affairs by the Women and Child Development Ministry.
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Orphans, who do not have any birth certificate, can get the head of the orphanage where they were raised to confirm their date of birth on an official letterhead, which will be accepted by the government for issuing passports.
Sadhus who want their gurus’ names recorded in passports, instead of that of their parents, will be allowed to do so if they can produce a government document with a similar change.
The Ministry of External Affairs had on Monday announced a slew of important changes in rules, after considering various requests and demands from different groups of people. They were announced by the Minister of State (External Affairs) V K Singh Friday.
The changes are:
# Online passport application forms now require applicants to provide the name of father or mother or legal guardian, i.e., only one parent and not both. This would also enable single parents to apply for passports for their children.
# Passport application forms do not require applicants to provide names of spouses in case of separation or divorce. Such applicants would not be required to provide the divorce decree.
# Married applicants would not be required to provide marriage certificates.
# Orphaned children who do not have any proof of “Date of Birth”, such as birth certificate or the matriculation certificate or a court order, may now submit a declaration given by the head of the orphanage/child care home on the official letterhead of the organisation confirming the date.
# For adopted children within India, submission of registered adoption deeds would no longer be required. Applicants may instead submit declarations on plain paper confirming the adoption.
# Various annexures required to be submitted by applicants would now be in the form of self-declarations on plain paper. No attestation/swearing by/before any notary/executive magistrate/first class judicial magistrate would be necessary.
# Sadhus or sanyasis can apply for passports with the names of their spiritual gurus mentioned in the application in lieu of their biological parents’ name, subject to their providing at least one government document such as Election Photo Identity Card (EPIC), PAN card, Aadhar Card, etc., where the name of the gurus are recorded in the column for the parents’ names.
# Government employees, who are not able to obtain the Identity Certificate or No-Objection Certificate from their employer and need to get passports on an urgent basis can now get them by submitting a self-declaration that they had provided prior intimation letter to their employers about applying for an ordinary passport.
In another significant change, the government has also eased the requirement of date of birth certificates for those born after October 26, 1989.
As per existing Passport Rules, 1980, all applicants born on or after 26/01/1989 had to mandatorily submit birth certificates as the proof of date of birth to obtain passports.
The government said that applicants can submit any one of the following documents as the proof of date of birth while submitting the application:
# Birth certificate issued by the registrar of births and deaths or the municipal corporation or any other prescribed authority.
# Transfer/school leaving/matriculation certificate issued by the school last attended/recognised educational board containing the date of birth.
# PAN card issued by Income Tax Department with the date of birth of applicant.
# Aadhar card/E-Aadhar with date of birth.
# Copy of the extract of applicants’ service record for government employees or pay pension order for retired government employees duly attested/certified by the officer/in-charge of the administration of the concerned ministry/department of the applicant, having the date of birth
# Driving licence
# Election Photo Identity Card (EPIC)
# Policy bond issued by public life insurance corporations/companies.
The MEA said that necessary notifications would be soon published in the Official Gazette to give effect to these changes. “Instructions are also being issued to the passport issuing authorities in India and abroad on these revised regulations,” it said.