HC raps passport authorities for sitting on Monica Bedi's plea
Irked with the Regional Passport Office's failure to respond to apetition filed by actor and companion of gangster Abu Salem, Monica Bedi, the Bombay High Court today directed the passport authority to file its reply within two weeks
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. "What is your (passport authority) objection to re-issue her passport? At least spell out your stand.
File an affidavit in two weeks. This is the last chance we are giving you," a division bench of Justices V M Kanade and S C Gupte said. A lawyer appearing for the regional passport office today told the court that it had sought No Objection Certificates from Maharashtra, Delhi and Hyderabad police.
Bedi and Salem were arrested in Portugal and extradited to India in 2005. The same year she was held guilty for submitting forged documents for procuring passport and sentenced to five years in jail. In 2007, she 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 Nitin Pradhan 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.