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Ensuring credibility is, I believe, the biggest imperative before the concerned authorities as regards the issue of man’s most-travelled document – the passport. The whole idea of passport emerged in the 1920s post the First World War, mooted by the newly constituted peace-making body – the League of Nations. Eventually, it now stands as the most important document as regards a person’s international travels. Although fake passport cases abound, passport generally serves as a proof of identity, citizenship and purposes of visit as per visas granted among other details. In this article we look into the question of whether we need to submit a birth certificate to get a passport in India. We’ll also look into allied questions involved.
As per the Passport Act, Passport is a document issued to a citizen by the President of India. It serves as a universal proof of Indian nationality and enables citizens to travel abroad. The Passport Seva unit of the Consular, Passport & Visa (CPV) Division of the Ministry of External Affairs, functions as the central passport organisation, and is responsible for issuing Indian passports on demand to all eligible Indian citizens. Indian passports are issued at 93 passport offices located across India and at 162 Indian diplomatic missions abroad.
India has three kinds of passport: Ordinary passport (Type P Passport) with a dark blue cover issued to citizens, Official Passport (Type S Passport) with a white cover issued to persons representing India in official business and the Diplomatic Passport (Type D passport) with a maroon cover issued to Indian diplomats, top ranking government officials and diplomatic couriers.
The major purpose passport serve is enabling foreign travel. Our visa requirement varies from nation to nation depending on the entry restrictions placed by different states on Indian citizens. As of February 2019, Indian citizens had visa-free or visa on arrival access to 61 countries and territories, ranking the Indian passport 79th in terms of travel freedom according to the Henley Passport Index.
As per Passport Rules, 1980, which contemplated proof of birth to be submitted at the time of passport application, mandated the submission of Birth Certificate for the same for every applicant born on or after 26/01/1989. Hence, a passport without birth certificate submission was barred by law. This was causing implementation hassles where the person had a single parent or when the said single parent did not want the father’s name to be printed on the passport. Non-acceptance of other records which serve the purpose of birth date identification was posing challenges to access and convenience. Hence, a new regime has come into play regarding proof of date of birth for passport application.
The Ministry of External Affairs had come up with the announcement of the new passport rules vide a press release dated 23rd December 2016, through the Public Information Bureau of the Government of India. These rules contemplate a paradigm shift which ensures access and eliminates implementation hassles in certain cases. As regards requirement for birth certificate, the new rules effectively removed the provision for mandatory submission of Birth Certificate by adding other alternative proofs which could be submitted instead.
These alternative proofs could be transfer/school leaving/Matriculation Certificate which contain the date of birth of the applicant, Aadhaar card/E-Aadhaar, PAN card, driving license, Election Photo Identity Card (EPIC) and even LIC policy bonds. Government servants can give extracts of service records, pension records etc. This move, as per the government, was an action aimed at ensuring access. The new rules require only one parent’s name to be entered in the portal for passport application; this enables single parents to get passports for their kids.
Nonetheless, the fact remains that Birth Certificate still is a valid proof of birth when it comes to application for passport. Having said that, there could be issues regarding birth certificate being filed as a proof of date of birth.
Birth Certificate (BC), as per the rules, has to be the original birth certificate issued by the Registrar of Births & Deaths or the Municipal Corporation or any other prescribed authority whosoever has been empowered under the Registration of Birth & Deaths Act, 1969 to register the birth of a child born in India, as per the new rules. Parents’ birth certificates will no longer be required for passport application as the rules mention only the applicant’s birth certificate. if at all he is choosing to file the same as the proof of age. The Birth Certificate should contain the name of child, name of father and mother, date of birth, place of birth, sex, registration number and date of registration.
If your name is different from what you want to have on the passport, the easiest solution would be filing one of the alternative identity proof which has the desired name. In case this is impractical, sufficient public notice of your different name would be enough for the passport authorities to accept your application. Opinions online suggest that you could have an affidavit or a notary filed and have an advertisement published in two newspapers – a local and a national one. Subsequent to this, the passport authority will accept the application sans issues.
Birth certificate is normally not required for issue of visa by other countries. The date of birth on your passport is presumed to be true. The issuing authority is presumed to have taken sufficient caution in obtaining valid evidence for the date of birth of the applicant. It would make sense to not require a recheck on the date of birth of an individual, once verified at the time of application.