Ministry of External Affairs (MEA)'s Raveesh Kumar
Ministry of External Affairs (MEA)'s Raveesh Kumar

Passports issued to inter-faith couple as per norms: MEA

ANI | Updated: Jul 05, 2018 18:32 IST

New Delhi [India], Jul 5 (ANI): The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) on Thursday clarified that the inter-faith couple, Tanvi Seth and her husband Anas Siddiqui were issued passports as per the ministry's norms and due procedures.
The MEA's response came after several media reports emerged that the passport officer, Vikas Mishra was wrong in asking questions to the inter-faith couple.
In this regard, MEA spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said, "In the last couple of weeks, a lot of misinformation has been going around in the matter. Ms. Tanvi Seth submitted her passport application at Passport Seva Kendra (PSK) Lucknow on June 20. The passport was issued to Ms. Seth after careful examination of the documents submitted and following due process as per the Passport Act."
"The passport was issued post police verification (PV). The PV report sent to RPO Lucknow was to be based on a decision taken in December 2017 that PV will be undertaken only on two points - whether the applicant is a citizen of India and whether the applicant has any criminal case pending against him or her. These two aspects were converted into a six-point PV form. In the Tanvi Seth case, there was no adverse report on all six points mentioned in the revised form," he added.
Kumar further said that the police officer doing the verification added two comments based on which the PV report was put under the adverse category.
"The first point says that the name of the applicant in the passport form is Tanvi Seth, while in her marriage certificate her name is Sadia Anas, and the second issue was a discrepancy in her address on the ground that her rental address in Noida is not mentioned in the passport form by the applicant," he clarified.
The MEA spokesperson said that under the revised passport application rules, there was no requirement for submitting a marriage certificate. Hence, the controversy around Seth's name was irrelevant.
"I would like to categorically state that all existing norms were followed while issuing the passport to Ms. Seth. I hope this clarifies the matter and puts to rest all misinformation in this regard," Raveesh continued.
Seth made news on June 20 after requesting External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj for help on Twitter, claiming she and her husband Anis Siddiqui were harassed by an officer at the Lucknow Passport Office at Ratan Square.
She alleged that the officer, Mishra asked her why she had not changed her name after marrying a Muslim. Following the complaint by Seth, the MEA promptly ordered an inquiry and issued Seth a passport next day while transferring Mishra to Gorakhpur.
Seth had alleged that the officer questioned her marital status and spoke to her rudely. She also claimed that others in the passport office did not even react to his "rude demeanour." Her husband Siddiqui too alleged that he was told to change his religion and take "pheras.
Shortly after the action was taken against Mishra, reports claimed that Seth's address did not match with the one provided on her passport. Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Deepak Kumar had said that the verification report sent to the Regional Passport Office (RPO) showed that Seth has been living in Noida, while she had given a Lucknow address for police verification.
However, on Wednesday, sources said that police verification has nothing to do with the address and it is done to check the criminal record and nationality of the applicant.
Sources further said that Mishra had overstepped the bound of his duty, but added that such transfers were a routine affair. (ANI)