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Passport Office issues notice to ‘activist’ Medha Patkar, asks why passport should not be impounded for concealing pending cases

The RPO Mumbai has issued Patkar a notice seeking details regarding the nine criminal cases have been registered against her - three are in Barwani, one in Alirajpur and five in Khandwa district of Madhya Pradesh, which is still pending adjudication.

The Mumbai Regional Passport Office has issued a show-cause notice to ‘activist’ Medha Patkar seeking details on cases pending against her asking why her passport should not be seized for hiding information regarding pendency of cases against her.

According to the reports, the RPO Mumbai has issued Patkar a notice on October 18 seeking details regarding the nine criminal cases that have been registered against her – three are in Barwani, one in Alirajpur and five in Khandwa district of Madhya Pradesh, which is still pending adjudication.

Reportedly, most of the cases against Medha Patkar have been lodged for rioting and obstructing government servants from carrying out their duty. In March 2017, a passport was reissued to her which is valid till March 2027.

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The notice to Patkar by RPO Mumbai came after a complaint filed by journalist Sanjeev Jha in June which accused Patkar of obtaining her passport by “concealing” material facts from the RPO

The notice states that while obtaining her passport dated March 30, 2017, she did not disclose the pendency of these cases and obtained the passport by suppressing information.

“In view of the same, it is proposed to impound your passport bearing and any other passport if issued subsequently under section 10(3)(e) of the Passports Act 1967. You are requested to state why action should not be taken under section 12(1) of the Passports Act 1967,” the notice issued by the passport office on October 18 said.

Following the notice, the passport officials have sought her explanation within 10 days from the date of this communication failing which action would be taken. Reportedly, Patkar has till date not submitted any reply despite the lapse of more than 30 days.

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According to the section 10(3) of the passport act, the passport authority may impound or revoke a passport or travel document if proceedings in respect of an offence alleged to have been committed by the holder of the passport or travel document are pending before a criminal court in India.

Similarly, Section 12 of the same act states whoever “knowingly furnishes any false information or suppresses any material information with a view to obtaining a passport or travel document shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term which may extend to two years or with fine which may extend to Rs 5,000 or with both.”

Responding to the allegations, Medha Patkar said that she had sent a reply to the Regional Passport Office saying that at the time of application, there was no case pending against her. She added that she had after the RPO had sent another notice giving me 15 days to produce documentary evidence for the cases. I have the documents of some of the cases but not all, she said.

Medha Patkar added that all the cases were filed during the NBA agitation which began in 1985. “These were not cases against me alone but against a large group of people. I don’t even remember appearing in Khandwa,” said Patkar.

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