Hit By Criticism, Govt. Backtracks On Passport Diktat; Says It Will Remain As Address Proof!
Govt. was accused Of discrimination over orange passport
Earlier this month, Ministry of External Affairs created ripples all around, when they announced the design of a new Indian passport, which was planned to have no last page, and different colors of skilled and non-skilled citizens.
Removing the last page of the passport meant that no longer the passport could have been used for address verification, and different colors for different categories of workers meant massive discrimination.
Stung by the criticism, and the uproar, Govt. of India has backtracked on their decision for new passport, and have abandoned their plans.
Let us understand what was the uproar all about?
MEA: No New Passport Design, Address To Remain At Last Page
The Foreign Ministry, in a statement has announced that they will no longer remove the last page of the passport which contains the address of the individual.
Their statement said, “the MEA has decided to continue with the current practice of printing of the last page of the passport and not to issue a separate passport with orange colour jacket to ECR passport holders,”
Giving a slight hint over the reason for the backtrack, MEA said that with “several individual and collective representations” had “requested” to reconsider their decision.
Besides, MEA has clarified as to how they got the idea to make the changes in the first place.
As per MEA, a 3-member committee comprising of officials from MEA and the ministry of women and child development had examined world-wide practices on passport, and had recommended MEA to remove the last page which contains sensitive details.
Earlier, MEA Spokesperson Raveesh Kumar had said “One of the recommendations of the committee was that the ministry of external affairs should explore the possibility of doing away with the printing of information contained in the passport booklet such as names of father/legal guardian, mother, spouse, and address contained in the last page of the passport,”
Kerala HC Notice To MEA Over Discrimination
Besides abandoning the plan to remove the last page, MEA has also scrapped their plan to print Orange colored passports for unskilled Indians
MEA had to face severe criticism over this decision, as Kerala High Court had issued a notice to MEA, over this decision.
The petition was filed by PIL filed by advocate Shamsuddeen Karunagappally and co-petitioner Shajahan, and based on this, A bench of Acting Chief Justice Antony Dominic and Justice Seshadri Naidu issued notice to the MEA.
The PIL was against Govt.’s decision to issue orange colored passport to those, who have Emigration Check Required (ECR) passport; and ECR is required for those who are not educated beyond class 10th, and have no taxable income.
The PIL stated, “The move is targeting migrant workers in Middle Eastern countries. To make their underprivileged status known publicly through separate colour code is a grave invasion of their fundamental right to privacy and dignity. There is no rational objective to be achieved through this segregation. The segregation is demeaning and shockingly violative of the principle of equality.”
However, now as the Govt. has backtracked, and scrapped their plans to issue orange colored passport, the PIL will be null and void.
Has Govt. taken the right decision by retaining the last page of the passport, and not issuing orange colored passports? Do let us know your views by commenting right here!