Delhi court grants NOC to Rahul Gandhi to get passport for 3 years
A Delhi court on Friday granted a no-objection certificate (NOC) to Congress leader Rahul Gandhi for issuance of an ‘ordinary passport‘ for only three years instead of 10, the period for which it is normally issued, following an objection raised by BJP leader Subramanian Swamy. Rahul Gandhi had surrendered his diplomatic passport upon his disqualification as an MP Subramanian Swamy argued that the Court would listen to the opinion of the Union Home Ministry, which issued notice to Rahul Gandhi on the controversial British citizenship holding issue.
“I’m partly allowing your application. Not for 10 years but three years,” Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate (ACMM) Vaibhav Mehta told Gandhi’s counsel while pronouncing the order in a packed courtroom. Gandhi is scheduled to visit the United States in the first week of June during which he will attend meetings and interact with university students.
Rahul is slated to visit Washington DC, New York and San Francisco. The Congress leader will likely addresses Indian Americans, meet lawmakers at the US Capitol, and interact with members of think tanks, Wall Street executives and university students during his stay. The magisterial court, in the forenoon, reserved its order on Gandhi’s plea for grant of NOC after hearing submissions of his lawyers and Swamy, who is the complainant in the National Herald case.
Swamy who was assisted by advocates Satya Sabharwal and Vishesh Kanodia opposed the application, saying it was “devoid of any merit” and insisted the passport should be issued only for one year and renewed every year thereafter. “It is a special case. The passport should not be issued for 10 years. It seems wrong,” he said, and claimed Gandhi’s Indian citizenship was under question. He alleged Gandhi was a British citizen. Speaking to media, after the arguments, Subramanian Swamy reiterated that Court must hear the opinion of Union Home Ministry as it had issued notice to Rahul Gandhi on his self declared British Citizenship.
Dr. @Swamy39 after the Court hearing addressing the Press Conf. on Rahul Gandhi Passport Application for NOC for issuance of Passport for 10 years.
At 1 pm Hon’ble Court passed Orders, that NOC for issuance of passport is only for three years.
Plea for 10 years was not allowed. pic.twitter.com/0bF0GQaWG8
— Satya Sabharwal (@satyasabharwal) May 26, 2023
Rahul’s advocate Tarannum Cheema contested Swamy’s claim and said two petitions asking for initiating criminal proceedings against the Congress leader on the citizenship issue have already been dismissed by higher courts. Swamy has accused Sonia and Rahul of cheating and misappropriation of funds in acquiring ownership of the now-defunct daily newspaper National Herald.
Subramanian Swamy objected the issuance of new passport to Rahul Gandhi, saying that if Rahul is allowed to travel abroad, it may hamper the probe in the National Herald case. Swamy also argued that the court must hear the opinion of Union Home Ministry as it had issued notice to Rahul for illegally holding British citizenship.
The court called Swamy after Rahul Gandhi filed the petition seeking no-objection for getting ordinary passport. Earlier day Rahul’s counsel said that there are no criminal cases pending against him and therefore, he can be granted a no-objection certificate. However, the Court opined that Swamy has the right to file a reply to Gandhi’s plea.
The Enforcement Directorate is also probing the money laundering angle in National Herald case. Meanwhile, Union Home Ministry in April 2019 issued notice to Rahul Gandhi for holding a British passport illegally on Subramanian Swamy’s complaint. Swamy in his complaint to Home Ministry and other agencies produced documents of a British company, where Rahul is a Director declaring himself as British citizen with London residential address.
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It can only be on the basis of some merit that a 10 Year Passport was denied. Who will take the responsibility if we end up with another Mallya?