The Regional Passport Office (RPO) today told the Bombay High Court that it cannot issue passport to Monica Bedi, actor and companion of gangster Abu Salem, if any proceeding pertaining to the offences lodged against her is pending before any criminal court.
This was stated by the passport office in an affidavit in reply to a petition filed by Monica Bedi seeking directions to the passport office to take a decision on her application for re-issuance of her passport.
"Under section 6(2)(f) of the Passport Act, the passport authority shall refuse to issue passport, if any proceedings in respect of the offence alleged to have been committed by the petitioner (Monica Bedi) is pending before a criminal court," the affidavit said.
According to the affidavit, the passport office had on September 23 written letter to the police in Bhopal and Hyderabad and the CBI Delhi calling for the status of the criminal case against the petitioner and their opinion on re-issuance of her passport.
"The passport office have not yet received response from any of the authorities. If all the authorities give clear reports then passport may be re-issued," the affidavit said.
The affidavit further states that Monica Bedi has not submitted documents showing the actual status of the criminal matter pending against her in a CBI court in Hyderabad.
Monica Bedi and Salem were arrested in Portugal and extradited to India in 2005. The same year she was held guilty for submitting forged documents for procuring passport and sentenced to five years in jail.
In 2007, she was released on bail pending appeal. In 2010 the Supreme Court while upholding her conviction reduced the sentence to the period undergone by her in prison.
"Monica Bedi filed application for re-issuance of her passport on September 3, 2012. Her form was accepted and she was given an acknowledgment slip. However, till date there has been no communication. No order has also been passed rejecting her application," Monica Bedi's lawyer Niteen Pradhan said.
He added that as per rules, a person's passport application cannot be granted if he or she has been convicted five years prior to the filing of the passport application.
Monica Bedi's petition states that she wants to go abroad for shooting and her career is affected due to non-availability of passport.