Tuesday, June 6, 2023

Delhi court to hear Rahul Gandhi’s plea for new passport today

A Delhi court will hear today Congress leader Rahul Gandhi’s plea seeking a no-objection certificate for issuing him an “ordinary passport”. This comes after he surrendered his diplomatic passport over his disqualification as an MP. The court on Wednesday asked former BJP MP Subramanian Swamy to file his reply in this matter by Friday.

Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate (ACMM) Vaibhav Mehta posted Gandhi’s plea on May 26, saying that the right to travel is a fundamental right and the courts had not imposed any restrictions on the movement of the Congress leader, who had traveled several times. A permission, as reported by PTI. The ACMM also pointed out that while granting bail to Gandhi in December 2015, the court had not imposed any restrictions on his travel and Swamy’s plea to impose restrictions was then rejected.

Gandhi, who was disqualified as a Lok Sabha member following his conviction in a defamation case, is an accused in the National Herald case in which Swamy is the complainant. The Congress leader, whose sentence has been suspended in a defamation case filed over his remarks about Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s surname, on Tuesday moved the court for a no-objection certificate.

Gandhi’s counsel Tarannum Cheema, appearing along with advocates Nikhil Bhalla and Sumit Kumar, sought No Objection Certificate (NOC) to the Congress leader so that he can obtain a new passport.

ACMM Mehta, however, said that Swamy has a right to file a reply to the application. The court, after seeking time, allowed Swamy to file his reply by May 26. The magistrate said that he would hear arguments in the matter on the same day.

“The applicant ceased to be a Member of Parliament in March 2023 and as such has surrendered his diplomatic passport and is applying for a fresh ordinary passport. Through the present application, the applicant seeks permission and no objection from this Court to issue Used to be.” him a new ordinary passport,” the application said, as quoted by PTI.

The National Herald case is based on a private criminal complaint by Swamy against Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi and others, accusing them of cheating, conspiracy and criminal breach of trust.

The accused are eminent personalities with deep political grassroots and there is no apprehension that they will abscond, as noted by a magistrate court while granting them bail on December 9, 2015. The now defunct English daily National Herald.

All of them were directors of Young Indian Limited (YI), which was incorporated in 2010 and took the “debt” of Associated Journals Limited (AJL), the publisher of National Herald. Swamy had accused Sonia and Rahul Gandhi and others of conspiring to cheat and embezzle funds by paying only Rs 50 lakh, by which YI had acquired the right to recover Rs 90.25 crore, which AJL owed The Congress party owed arrears.

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