Concerns about the revoking of Indian passports for those holding a Portuguese Bilhete de Identidade or Assento de Nascimento and seeking renewal, echoed in the Rajya Sabha with Member of Parliament Sadanand Shet Tanavade urging the Central government to reconsider its decision.
The circular dated November 30, 2022, by the Ministry of External Affairs clearly states that those persons holding foreign nationality and attempting to renew their Indian passport will face revocation (of their passports) under Section 10 (3) (b) of the Passport Act of 1967.
This Section specifies that if a person has obtained an Indian passport by suppressing important information, like not informing about having citizenship in another country, then his/her passport can be revoked.
The Indian law doesn’t allow people to have citizenship in two or more countries simultaneously and concealing information is a legal offense.
Tanavade drew the attention of the MEA during the Zero Hour citing it as a critical issue affecting a substantial number of Goans. He claimed that the Regional Passport Office revoked several Indian passports of those falling in the category.
“I urge the Minister of External Affairs to reconsider the decision,” he said while emphasizing that revoking Indian passports solely based on birth registration in Portugal is unwarranted.
He further proposed that the Ministry allow the renewal of Indian passports for these persons until they acquire the official citizenship document from the Portuguese government.
“This measure is crucial to facilitating their travel and ensuring their well-being during the transition period until their Portuguese passports are ready. I also propose the Ministry expedite the process, enabling these persons to promptly obtain OCI cards upon acquiring Portuguese citizenship,” he stated.
The Goan reported that issue first on November 22 explaining how implications of the circular are unfolding at Regional Passport Offices pan-India, including Goa, where an average of 15 to 20 applications for renewal is received daily. Of these, as per sources, at least one application is being revoked per day for possession of either the Billet De Identidade or Assento de Nascimento.
“The development is a direct consequence of applicants who have come to the passport office for renewal unaware of the consequences. Many applicants might have been misled by agents or ignorantly committed the act or taken advantage of possible loopholes in the law,” an MEA official had stated.