A matrimonial dispute cannot be the reason to revoke a person's passport without giving him any hearing, the Delhi High Court has said.
Justice Prathiba M Singh said that revocation of passport was a strong measure and it cannot be done without even hearing the person affected.
"A matrimonial case can't stop his passport forever. It is only a matrimonial dispute. Why don't you restore his passport," the court said, adding "it is too unfair what you (Centre) people are doing. Why are you taking sides?"
The observations by the court came on a man's plea seeking setting aside of a May 2020 order upholding the revocation of his passport.
The Centre contended that once a passport is revoked it cannot be restored and the petitioner would have to apply afresh for a new one.
While the man claimed he was given no prior notice nor an opportunity to plead his case, Centre said he was given a chance to place his stand before the Indian Mission in Houstan, Texas in the USA.
The court directed the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) to file an affidavit stating whether the man was given prior notice and an opportunity to be heard by the Indian Mission, before his passport was revoked.
The court said if no affidavit is filed before the next date of hearing on April 23, then a senior official from the Passport Seva Programme (PSP) Division of foreign ministry shall join the proceedings before it.
"Revoking a passport is a strong measure. You cannot do it like this," it added.