New Delhi, Mar 30, 2018 : The government has decided to deny passports to officers being investigated or prosecuted in corruption cases or facing FIR registered by a government entity after a preliminary enquiry. Such officers will not be given vigilance clearance needed for grant of passport, according to revised guidelines.
Vigilance clearance may also be denied to an officer under suspension or where a chargesheet has been issued against the officer in pending disciplinary proceedings.
While denial of vigilance clearance for passport on ground of pending criminal proceedings is not new, government officers will now also be deprived of a passport in case sanction for their investigation and prosecution in a case filed under the Prevention of Corruption Act or any other criminal matter has been granted by a competent authority.
In case of FIRs based on private complaints, a chargesheet must be filed by the investigating agency and there should be no directions to the contrary by a court of law for vigilance clearance. However, information regarding FIRs based on private complaints may be provided to the passport office, leaving a final decision to the issuing authority.
While making the norms for grant of vigilance clearance more stringent for officers facing charges of corruption, the new guidelines issued by the personnel ministry provide for leniency where the officer is required to attend to medical emergencies for himself or close family members residing abroad.
The norms may also be relaxed to enable an officer to attend family events abroad. So, while an officer against whom disciplinary proceedings are pending will ordinarily not be granted passport, the competent authority may allow foreign travel on a case-to-case basis.