The changes were announced after the MEA accepted the recommendations of an inter-ministerial committee.
New Delhi: In a significant change in the passport application rules that has raised eyebrows due to the ideological orientation of the ruling BJP, the Narendra Modi government has allowed “sadhus/sanyasis” (holy men/women) to apply for a passport with the name of their spiritual “guru” (teacher) listed in the application in lieu of the name of parents. The change was made after sadhus petitioned the government on this, but it will be done only when the sadhus/sanyasis furnish at least one official document (like Aadhaar card, PAN card, etc) that already shows the guru’s name listed in the “column on the parent’s name”.
The external affairs ministry made a few other changes, including one that will no longer make it mandatory for passport applicants to fill in the names of both parents. This is expected to provide huge relief to single parents, specially single mothers. The passport application form now will not require the applicant to provide even “the name of her/his spouse in case of separated or divorced persons”, and applicants in such cases will not have to provide even the divorce decree as proof. The changes were announced after the MEA accepted the recommendations of an inter-ministerial committee.
“In order to streamline, liberalise and ease the process of issue of passport, the MEA has taken a number of steps in the realm of passport policy which is expected to benefit citizens of India applying for a passport,” the government said on Friday.
“Sadhus/sanyasis can apply for a passport with the name of their spiritual guru mentioned in the application in lieu of their biological parent(s) name(s), subject to their providing at least one public document such as Election Photo Identity Card (EPIC) issued by the Election Commission, PAN card, Aadhaar card, etc wherein the name of the guru is recorded against the column(s) for parent(s) name(s),” the MEA said.
Officials said that till now, it was mandatory for sadhus and sanyasis to furnish the names of their parents in the passport application. After the sadhus petitioned the Government against this, a three-member committee that comprised officials of the MEA and women and child development ministry was constituted to examine various issues on passport application rules. The committee gave its report, which was accepted by the MEA.
In huge relief to single parents, specially single mothers, the MEA said: “The online passport application form now requires the applicant to provide the name of father or mother or legal guardian, (thus) only one parent, and not both. This would enable single parents to apply for passports for their children and to also issue passports where the name of either the father or the mother is not required to be printed at the request of the applicant.” It added: “The passport application form does not require the applicant to provide the name of her/his spouse in case of separated or divorced persons. Such applicants for passports would not be required to provide even the divorce decree.”
Also, mandatory submission of the birth certificate as a proof of date of birth has been waived for those whom it was a must till now. ”As per statutory provisions of the Passport Rules 1980, all applicants born on or after 26/01/1989, in order to get a passport, had to, hitherto, mandatorily submit the birth certificate as the proof of date of birth (DOB). It has now been decided that all applicants of passports can submit any one of the following documents as the DOB proof while submitting the passport application: birth certificate issued by the Registrar of Births and Deaths or municipal corporation or any other prescribed authority; transfer/school leaving or matriculation certificate issued by the school last attended; PAN card issued by the income-tax department with the DOB of applicant; Aadhaar card/E-Aadhar with the DOB of the applicant ...,” the MEA said.