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Deepnamol Sebastian v. Regional Passport Officer

Passport – Mistakes in respect of the parents’ name can be corrected even after their death, based upon the documents that are to be produced to the satisfaction of the officer.

Citations : 2021 (5) KHC 175

ICL 2021 (8) Ker. 988

WP(C) NO. 10147 OF 2021; 31st August, 2021
Deepnamol Sebastian v. Regional Passport Officer

Petitioner : by Advs. Saijo Hassan, Benoj C. Augustin, Rafeek. V. K., U. M. Hassan, P. Parvathy, Manas P. Hameed; Respondents : by Adv P. Vijayakumar, A S G Of India

J U D G M E N T 

Petitioner is a B.Sc. Nursing graduate, who proposes to work abroad and claims to have received several offer letters from various reputed hospitals. She holds an Indian Passport bearing No.T5329697. However, it was noticed that petitioner’s date of birth and her father’s name were wrongly entered in the passport. The date of birth is shown as ‘03.05.1987’ while her father’s name is shown as ‘Sebastian’. According to the petitioner, the date of birth ought to have been ‘23.05.1986’ while her father’s name ought to have been ‘Devasia’.

2. Petitioner asserts that when she downloaded the birth certificate recently, she noticed that her father’s name is mistakenly shown as ‘Devasia’ instead of ‘Sebastian’. On realizing the mistake, petitioner verified the other documents she decided to correct the mistake even though her father had expired. Petitioner sought correction of her Matriculation Certificate. By Ext.P4, the Joint Commissioner for Government Examinations, Thiruvananthapuram after verifying the records, corrected the name of the petitioner’s father from ‘Sebastian’ to ‘Devasia. All the records now produced by the petitioner show that petitioner’s father’s name is ‘Devasia’ while the passport alone shows the name of petitioner’s father as ‘Sebastian’. Records are also produced to show that the date of birth of the petitioner is ‘23.05.1986’. Based on the facts that there are mistakes in the passport presently held by the petitioner, she had applied for correction of the date of birth as well as the name of her father. Ext.P6 is the online appointment received. Petitioner has also made a representation as Ext.P8 seeking to carry out the correction at the earliest.

3. A statement has been filed on behalf of respondents 1 and 2 stating that petitioner’s initial passport was issued on 07.12.2009 and that she had travelled using the said passport. It is also mentioned that the renewed passport issued on 25.06.2019 also shows the date of birth and the name of the father as ‘03.05.1987’ and as ‘Sebastian’. According to respondents 1 and 2, there is no law under which a person can change the name of the deceased parents and that the existing passport is also subject to revocation if the same has been fraudulently obtained.

4. In reply, petitioner has produced Ext.P9, which is a communication issued by the first respondent to the petitioner dated 13.04.2021. It is mentioned in the said communication as follows :-

‘However, as per MEA’s latest relaxed guidelines, parent’s name may be corrected based on documentary proof issued in their life time or name in Death Certificate. Parents’ name as shown in his/ her own passport is significant proof of the correct name and to be accepted on priority. Besides, parents’ name as shown in educational documents/ marriage certificate, birth certificate including revised certificates etc. can also be accepted as correct, even if issued after the death of parents.

You may, therefore, reschedule your online appointment for re-issue (vide ARN 21-1001938253) ad visit Passport Seva Kendra, Kannur on the newly rescheduled appointment date and time along with your passport and other proofs like your Birth Certificate, SSLC, father’s death certificate (and his other documents issued during life time, if any) for effecting correction of DOB and parent’s name in your re-issued passport.’

5. Based upon the above communication issued by the first respondent to the petitioner, it is clear that even as per the guidelines of the Ministry of External Affairs, the mistakes in respect of the parents’ name can be corrected even after their death, based upon the documents that are to be produced to the satisfaction of the officer. Respondents cannot go back upon the guidelines issued by the Ministry.

6. In view of the communication issued by Ext.P9, it is evident that even after the death of a person, the name in the passport of the deceased person can be corrected, provided documents to that effect are produced for verification. The first respondent can certainly verify the veracity of the claim made by the petitioner. However for that purpose, an appointment has to be given and as mentioned in Ext.P9, petitioner has to schedule an appointment for re-issue of the passport after carrying out the corrections.

Accordingly, there will be a direction to the first respondent to provide an appointment day to the petitioner at the earliest, not later than four weeks from the date of receipt of a copy of this judgment and carry out the verification of the records produced by the petitioner in support of the claim for correcting the alleged mistakes occurred in the passport and pass appropriate orders thereon within four weeks of the appointment. If the first respondent is satisfied on verification of the records so produced and pass appropriate orders to that effect, the corrected passport shall be issued to the petitioner in accordance with law, at the earliest. The first respondent shall consider all the records produced by the petitioner in support of the claim while taking a decision as directed.

The writ petition is disposed of as above.

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