The Madras HC has suggested the central government to bring in appropriate amendments in the Passport Rules. With this, banks and financial institutions can demand the surrender of passports from those availing loans. This will prevent defaulters from fleeing the country.
“It is suggested that in order to prevent defaulters from fleeing away from justice and migrating to an alien country, the government is expected to modify rules regarding surrender of passport of the person availing loan, to the concerned institution, so that the person cannot travel abroad without the knowledge of such financial institution. It can also be made clear that till the loan is cleared, passport will not be handed over and in case of failure passport may be temporarily cancelled. Passport Act and Rules can also be amended to the effect that is case of renewal of passport necessary endorsement should be obtained from the jurisdictional court or appropriate forum,” said Justice S Vaidyanathan.
The judge of the Madras HC suggested this while dismissing a plea moved by S Mangalam. She is a suspended Anganwadi worker seeking a direction to the authorities to reinstate her in service. When the plea came up for hearing, the government advocate informed the court that the petitioner was suspended from service as she was not present in the Anganwadi during a surprise inspection and found to be cooking food meant for children in a cowshed.
Later, during the course of the hearing, it also came to light that the petitioner had travelled to Singapore without informing or obtaining prior permission from the department. And that was on a relative’s passport. Appalled by her act, the court censured her for willful dereliction of duty and for superseding facts to the court.