HC raps passport authorities for not responding to Monica Bedi's plea
The Bombay High Court today expressed displeasure over the passport authority's failure to take a stand on a petition filed by starlet and gangster Abu Salem's former companion Monica Bedi.
"We cannot endlessly go on deferring the hearing. How many times shall we adjourn the matter?" asked an angry bench headed by Justice V M Kanade.
The Judges expressed displeasure after counsel for passport authorities informed that the Additional Solicitor General was not available for arguments as he was in another court for a different matter.
The court deferred the hearing until tomorrow after Bedi's counsel Niteen Pradhan said he would make brief submissions on Wednesday. Bedi had approached the high court seeking directions to the passport office to take a decision on her application for re-issuance of her passport.
On September 24, the court had given last chance to the passport authorities to respond to Bedi's petition. Bedi and Salem were arrested in Portugal and extradited to India in 2005. In the same year, she was held guilty for submitting forged documents for procuring passport and sentenced to five years in jail. In 2007, Bedi was released on bail pending appeal. In 2010, the Supreme Court, while upholding her conviction, reduced the sentence to the period undergone by her in prison.
"Bedi filed application for re-issuance of her passport on September 3, 2012. Her form was accepted and she was given an acknowledgement slip. However, till date there has been no communication. No order has also been passed rejecting her application," Bedi's lawyer said.
He added that as per rules, a person's passport application cannot be granted if he or she has been convicted five years prior to the filing of the passport application. Bedi's petition states that she wants to go abroad for shooting and her career is affected due to non-availability of passport.