After losing his MP privileges following his disqualification as a member of Lok Sabha, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi had to surrender his diplomatic passport. Now, a Delhi court on Friday partly allowed Congress leader Rahul Gandhi’s passport plea and granted a no-objection certificate (NOC) for three years.
“I’m partly allowing your application. Not for 10 years but three years,” the judge told Gandhi’s lawyer.
Rahul Gandhi had sought a NOC for the issuance of an “ordinary passport” after he surrendered his diplomatic passport upon his disqualification as an MP.
Gandhi would be travelling to the US next week. On June 4, he is expected to address a public rally at New York’s Madison Square Garden, concluding his week-long tour that includes a talk at Stanford University. It will be his first public rally in the U.S.
However, Senior BJP leader Subramanian Swamy opposed the plea saying that if the former MP is allowed to travel abroad, it may hamper the ongoing probe in the National Herald case.
Meanwhile, the court observed the matter is pending since 2018 and Rahul Gandhi has been travelling abroad. There is no such apprehension that he will flee away or abscond. The right to travel is a fundamental right, said the court.
The National Herald case, currently under investigation by the Enforcement Directorate, stems from a private complaint lodged by Swamy in 2012.
A passport that is issued to individuals who hold diplomatic status or are deputed by the Government of India for official duty abroad is known as a Diplomatic Passport. The maroon-coloured passport (as opposed to the navy blue passport that is issued to common citizens) are issued by the MEA of India and is valid for five years. Diplomatic passports are a valuable tool for individuals who travel abroad for official purposes.
They offer a number of benefits:
• Visa-free entry to most countries
• Priority processing at immigration checkpoints
• Assistance from Indian embassies and consulates abroad
• Exemption from taxes on income earned outside of India