The Bombay High Court has directed the Regional Passport Office to decide the application of Iqbal Kaskar, brother of wanted fugitive Dawood Ibrahim, seeking fresh passport.
The direction was passed on Wednesday by a division bench of Justices PV Hardas and AS Gadkari, which was hearing a petition filed by Kaskar seeking a direction to the passport office to issue him a passport. Kaskar also sought permission from the court to travel to Saudi Arabia for Haj/Umrah pilgrimage for a period of four weeks from the day of his departure.
Kaskar had approached the high court after the passport authority rejected his application on the ground that the police report was against the grant of passport to him. Kaskar was tried under the Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA) for entering into a criminal conspiracy to construct shopping malls called ‘Sara-Sahara’, on a government-owned land at the instance of his brother Dawood Ibrahim.
In 2007, the trial court acquitted Kaskar due to lack of evidence, following which the state government filed an appeal before the high court, which is pending.
Kaskar’s advocate Ayaz Khan pointed out to the high court a notification dated August 25, 1993 which provides for such persons to produce orders from the court granting them permission to travel abroad.
The passport authority may then permit these persons to travel on certain conditions. The notification further deals with the period during which the passport can be issued to such a person.
Accepting this contention, the court directed Kaskar to file a fresh application to the authorities seeking passport. “We feel it appropriate to permit the applicant to apply for passport afresh by relying upon the notification. The passport authorities shall decide the application in accordance with law and on its own merits and if they find that the applicant is entitled to be issued a passport, the passport may be issued for a period of one year subject to such further orders which the court may pass from time to time,” the court said.
The passport authorities have been directed to decide the application within six months of its submission. The court further held that if the passport office grants Kaskar passport then he can approach the court again seeking permission to travel abroad.