Domestic Violence Case – though being a civil offence offence – there can be several repercussions during the pendency of the same. One of the most frequently asked questions by our readers is:
Will police renew our Passport, while the Domestic Violence case is pending against us?
One of our well wishers, who has just gone through this process, has been kind enough to educate several other men who are facing similar challenge with the authorities.
I am fighting a bitter divorce battle with my estranged wife since July 2017, when she filed a Domestic Violence case case against me and my mother. We have been separated since more than 5-years now, while my mother and I still remain respondents to her Domestic Violence petition, which still stands pending.
My mother’s passport expired last year and my passport is due for expiry this month.
In June 2022, we had reached out to the Regional Passport Office (RPO) in our city requesting for a renewal. One of the declarations that need to be submitted in the renewal form, is if there are any pending criminal cases against the applicant. While stating my marital status as “Separated“, I had made self declaration regarding the pending Domestic Violence offences against me and my mother.
Police Verification Rejected
As part of the police verification, we furnished all documents regarding our ongoing matrimonial case. However, to our shock, we received an SMS from the RPO few days later, stating that the local police had submitted an adverse report for our Current Address.
Initially, we thought it could be some address error or mismatch, and thus we approached the RPO for clarification and resolution.
After being tossed through four different work desks/ departments / windows for nearly four hours, it was confirmed that we would not get our passport renewed so easily.
One of the senior officials in the legal department there, was considerate enough to guide us as to why our passport renewal was rejected. He informed us that the police had given an adverse report:
…due to pendency of Domestic Violence Case.
Re-Applied With Clarification
Once again, we gave a written application to the authorities, clarifying that a Domestic Violence case was not a criminal offence and thus there was no reason why our passports should not be renewed.
Sadly, men today are bearing the brunt and label of patriarchy that was deeply rooted several years ago. As soon as we are charged under such Acts, society automatically views us as ‘criminals‘. As fate had it, one of the department clerks, who collected our second application, told my mom,
You and your son should have thought of this before troubling your daughter-in-law, criminals don’t get passport renewed.
He already convicted us before conviction.
My mother was devastated with sheer audacity of the clerk who had no business to give her a lecture during the pendency of a private matter.
Do Not Misuse Domestic Violence Act For Personal Act Of Revenge | Arunachal Pradesh State Commission For Women Vice Chairperson To Participants
Once again, we waited for the police official to come home and verify our details, so that he could submit his report. We were back to square one when the officer simply told us that he had instructions from the higher officials stating:
If there any cases pending, simply file adverse report.
The sheer lack of knowledge with both the RPO and local Police officials about marital disputes and individual’s rights was just shocking to say the least.
RPO Refused To Renew Our Passports
A week passed by and we received a show cause notice from the RPO questioning us, why the application shouldn’t be rejected, as we had clearly mentioned about the pending Domestic Violence Case.
At this point in time, I got a serious doubt how I would not be the only one facing this issue, and there would be several other separated men who are facing such challenges with different explanations.
I again called the Police officer and asked him about the volumes of such cases. This is when he stated how it was a standard practice followed by them in all pending cases, and my passport renewal rejection was not in isolation.
READ ORDER | Telangana High Court Sentences IPS Officers To Four-Weeks Jail For Their Overbearing Attitude In Dowry Harassment & Domestic Violence Case
Approached High Court
I consulted my legal counsel and decided to file a WRIT petition in the Telangana High Court. As per my Legal Counsel, not just Domestic Violence case (which is Civil in nature), but even if criminal cases are pending against any citizen, passport renewal cannot be blocked.
Honourable High Court allowed our petition and passed the order that I am sharing with all.
The order (attached at the end of this article) read as below:
Perusal of record would reveal that the wife of 1st petitioner had filed an application under Section 12 of the Act, against both the petitioners seeking certain reliefs. The said disputes are matrimonial disputes. Proceedings under DVC Act are not criminal in nature and they are quasi-criminal.
Therefore, mere pendency of proceedings under Section 12 of the Act is not a bar to renew the passports of the petitioners herein. On the said ground 2nd respondent cannot refuse to renew the passports of the petitioners herein.
There is no provision in the Act prohibiting 2nd respondent from renewing passports of the petitioners on the ground of pendency of application under Section 12 of the Act and that the entire system is online or system generated. Thus, 2nd respondent cannot deny renewal of the passports of the petitioners herein.
Instructing the official to process the passport renewal, the High Court disposed off the matter stating,
In view of the above submissions, this writ petition is disposed of. 2nd respondent is directed to renew the passports of the petitioners if they are otherwise in order and furnish the same to the petitioners.
Subsequently, I shared this HC order with the respective police officer and requested him to percolate this information with various passport verification officers.
Earlier this week, when I visited the court for my pending trial in the Domestic Violence case, I came across a couple of other men who were facing similar issue like mine. I handed over the HC order copy to them as well, so that they could take necessary action.
I am now awaiting for an official signed copy of the order to be submitted to RPO for renewal.
On a closing note, I know many men are struggling with this, so I thought, through Voice For Men India platform, I will share this experience with all, to empower them in whatever small way I can. Sadly, our systems and processes are followed in an arbitrary manner, and as laymen, we do not understand the law most of the times. Thus, I took this opportunity to educate others from my learning.
Can Police Reject Renewal Of Passport During Pendency Of Domestic Violence Case?— Voice For Men India (@voiceformenind) September 25, 2022
READ TELANGANA HIGH COURT ORDER
▪️Passport officer: "You & your son should have thought of this before troubling your daughter-in-law, criminals don’t get passport renewed"https://t.co/UABPAlBir9
SUPREME COURT ORDER ON PASSPORT RENEWAL DURING PENDING CRIMINAL OFFENCE
(Not Matrimonial Matter though)
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