The Ministry of External Affairs on Thursday categorically said that all existing guidelines were followed while issuing the passport to Tanvi Seth, a Lucknow-based woman who had earlier alleged that she and her husband were harassed by Lucknow passport officer Vikas Mishra. “I would like to categorically state that all existing norms were followed during the issuance of passport to Tanvi Seth. I hope this clarifies the matter and puts to rest all misinformation in this regard,” MEA spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said at a press briefing.
Tanvi Seth had accused the passport officer of targeting her and her husband, Anas Siddiqui, because of their interfaith marriage. She made a slew of allegations against Mishra, including asking her husband to convert to Hinduism and pulling her up for marrying a Muslim.
Seth had appealed to External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj for her intervention in the matter. The passport officer was subsequently transferred to Gorakhpur for his alleged misconduct against the couple.
Kumar said that the passport verification (PV) report sent to the regional passport office in Lucknow was to be based on a decision taken in December 2017 that PV will be undertaken only on two points, whether the applicant is a citizen of India and whether the applicant has any criminal case pending against him or her. However, Kumar clarified these two points were converted into a six-point PV form.
“These two aspects were converted into a six-point PV form. This decision was communicated to the DGPs of all states and Union territories to implement the PV norms from 1 June 2018,” Kumar said during the briefing.
Kumar said the police officer carrying out verification of Seth’s details added two comments on his own based on which the police verification (PV) report was put under “adverse category”. In the Tanvi Seth case, Kumar said there was no adverse report on all six points mentioned in the revised form. “The police officer doing the verification added two comments on his own based on which the PV report was put under adverse category.”
The first point says that the name of the applicant in the passport form is Tanvi Seth, while in her marriage certificate her name is Sadia Anas, and the second was a discrepancy in her address on the ground that her rental address in Noida is not mentioned in the passport application form. Kumar said as per the latest guidelines framed by the ministry these two points were not required at all.
On the marriage certificate, he said under the revised passport application rules, there is no requirement for submission of a marriage certificate at the time of application of passport. “Therefore, the name in the marriage certificate is not relevant to the issue of passport,” he said.
Asked about the Noida address, he said Seth had submitted her Aadhaar card and joint bank account as a proof for her name and address which was same as mentioned in the application form. “Therefore, the issue of passport to Tanvi Seth was found in order based on the existing rules,” he said.
Seth had submitted her passport application at Lucknow passport office on June 20 and the passport was issued after a careful examination of the documents submitted and following due process as per the Passport Act, he said.
(With PTI inputs)