Hyderabad: In a significant decision, Justice Surepalli Nanda of the Telangana High Court stated that having a criminal case pending against someone shouldn’t be a reason to refuse the renewal of their passport.
The judge directed the Regional Passport Officer (RPO-Hyderabad) to process the application of 53-year-old Mancherial resident Ravikanti Venkatesham within a week.
Venkatesham, who is dealing with a cheating case in court, had applied to renew his passport in January. However, the RPO rejected his application, citing his involvement in a criminal case. Objecting to this decision, Venkatesham took the matter to the High Court, arguing that it goes against the rules and fairness.
Justice Nanda, while settling the matter, stressed that everyone has the right not only to travel but also to own a passport. He referred to a previous decision by the Supreme Court, saying that the law considers a person innocent until proven guilty.
This means that a person facing legal issues still has the right to fundamental freedoms, including the right to travel, according to Article 21 of the Constitution of India. This ruling sets a precedent, emphasizing the importance of respecting basic rights, even when legal matters are ongoing.