'Police verification for passports should stay'
The MEA believes that by doing away with the address verification system, passports can be issued within 15 days.india Updated: Jun 18, 2006 10:27 IST
A proposal to do away with the requirement of residence verification of a passport applicant has hit a roadblock with security agencies opposing the move.
Security agencies have conveyed to the government that they were against the proposal of issuing passports merely on the basis of identity of an individual as it entailed a possibility of misuse, sources said in New Delhi.
The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) had mooted the proposal to shift from "local identity system" of passport issuance to an "identity-based" system to reduce delays caused because of police verification reports.
The MEA believes that by doing away with the address verification system, passports can be issued within 15 days.
Security agencies, however, have said that such a system could enable foreigners like Pakistanis and Bangladeshis to acquire Indian passports.
Rejecting the contention, proponents of the change insist that no instance had come to light where an applicant had been denied a passport on the basis of police verification report.
In fact, police reports only delay the passport issuance, a MEA official said.
In an attempt to bridge the differences between the MEA and Home Ministry, Cabinet Secretary BK Chaturvedi last week held a meeting with top officials of the two ministries.
Favouring the change, Chaturvedi told the meeting that other ways of identity verification could be used such as recommendation of two passport holders on the pattern of opening of a bank account.