Raise Your Voice Against Harassment For Bribe During Passport Police Verification

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Mrs. Sushma Swaraj,

Honourable Minister of External Affairs, Government of India.

Respected Madam,

I am an assistant professor in a reputed university in Kolkata and completed my higher studies including a Ph.D. from premier academic institutes of this country. My Passport is going to expire in March, 2018. So, recently I applied for reissuing my passport to get a new one. Since, my previous passport was made under the Tatkaal scheme, the police verification status for the same remained "Incomplete" as was conveyed to me by the Kolkata PSK. The officer on duty at the PSK advised me to get the Police verification done at the earliest possible, otherwise my application could be rejected as he told me during my scheduled appointment at the PSK. I would like to emphasis at this point that I do have all the necessary documents in order to prove myself that I am an Indian citizen by birth and that I have no criminal records against my name, neither I have ever been convicted or even accused under the law. Yesterday, I got a call from the DIB Office of the local police station and was asked to report them with all the necessary documents within half an hour. On reaching there, the officer on duty examined all my documents and said that they were "OK" with them. However, he told me that I also need to furnish my birth certificate issued by the competent authority in order to verify my place of birth. He said that photocopies of my matriculation certificates, Aadhar card, voter id card, PAN card and previous passport were not enough for verifying the same. He argued that this is necessary as many people (he termed as "Bangladeshi"s) tend to furnish fake or wrong information about their birthplaces as well as their DOBs. So, he asked me to come and report him again with my original birth certificate by yesterday afternoon. At that point of time, I was not aware of the law that people who were born before 26th January, 1989, do not need to furnish their birth certificates for passport police verification. (Since, my date of birth is before 26/01/1989, the aforesaid law automatically exempts me from furnishing my birth certificate for such verifications.) So, within couple of hours, I reached there again with my original birth certificate along with its photocopy. This time, the same officer on duty said that they received all the documents they were looking for and asked for some money for "sweets". Now, I realized that all these things were just for simply harassing me and taking a bribe. This is just one incident that highlights the harassment done to the common citizens of this country during the police verification process either for issuing or renewing their passports. After this incident, I have read in several websites where people across this country shared similar experiences with a much greater degree of severity. From the websites, I also came to know that the Ministry of External Affairs is trying their best to reduce the harassment made during the police verification process. However, my experience along with others mentioned in various websites clearly shows that in spite of the government's best efforts, the harassment faced by common people like us is still continuing at a large scale. Hence, I would earnestly like to pledge to all my fellow citizens not to give indulgence in such corruption and would like to request them to sign this petition at an as large scale as possible so that the competent authority can take the strongest of measures to uproot this serious problem faced by common citizens of this country. At the same time, I would also like to request you to kindly intervene in such matters with due importance and do the needful at the earliest possible. I shall remain highly obliged if you kindly consider this request and help people like us who wants to live in a corruption-free India with dignity and peace.

With warmest regards and thanks,

Yours faithfully,

Prasenjit Ghosh.