Decided on May 01,1953

V.G.ROW Appellant


Rajamannar, C.J. - (1.) The petitioner in this application is an Advocate of this court. He is also an elected member of the Madras Legislative Council. On or about 23-10-1952, he applied for the issue of a passport to him for travelling to the countries mentioned in the application which included the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics and other countries in Europe. On 12-1-1953, he received a communication from the Deputy Secretary to Government, Home Department enclosing a passport endorsed for the United Kingdom, Egypt; Iran, Iraq and Afghanistan. On page 7 of his passport, there was a (sic) as follows : "The passport should not be endorsed for additional countries without prior reference the office of issue." On receipt of this, the petitioner wrote the Secretary to Government, Home Department, stating that he had applied for a (sic)port to travel to all the countries in Europe including the U. S. S. R., as he wanted to consult Ear Specialists in those countries. He sent back the passport for further endorsement. He also protested against the note OP page 7 of the passport. On 2-3-1953, he received back his passport with a further endorsement for the following countries, namely, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Western Germany, Switzerland) Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, France, Austria, Spain, Portugal) Italy, Greece, Eire, and Turkey. The petitioner's request to delete the note made at page 7 of the passport and for an endorsement for the remaining countries in Europe and for the U. S. S. R. was refused. The petitioner therefore prays that this court may issue directions or orders or a Writ of Mandamus directing the respondent, namely, the State of Madras represented by the Home Secretary, to endorse his passport as valid for travelling to the U.S.S.R. and other countries in Europe in addition to the countries for which an endorsement had already been made and to cancel the observation made at page 7 of his passport.
(2.) The petitioner complains (1) that the refusal of an endorsement of the passport to any country is a violation of the fundamental right granted to him under Article 19(1)(d) of the Constitution, and any restrictions on that right must be reasonable and in the interests of the general public, and (2) that the refusal of an endorsement to the U.S.S.R. and to the Eastern Democracies is mala fide and is a discrimination which is both arbitrary and unjust and in violation of Article 14 of the Constitution. In support of his complaint, he alleges that the refusal was really due to the fact that he was a member of the Communist Legislature party in the Madras Legislature & as such consistently opposing the Party in power and relies also on the fact that passports endorsed to the said countries had been given to other persons. He states that a passport without any restriction was issued to him on 30-1-1928 which expired after a period of five years.
(3.) The Secretary to Government, Home Department, has filed a counter-affidavit on behalf of the State, stating that the petitioner had no legal claims to the issue of a passport which was in the nature of the grant of a special facility and it was in the discretion of the Executive to give or not to give it. It was denied that the endorsement to the U. S. S. R. and some other countries was refused to the petitioner because he was a member of the Communist party. It was further alleged that the petitioner's request was carefully and closely scrutinised and the decision of the Government was based on public interests and policy. It was submitted that it was not a valid or correct test to take the names of other persons who had been granted passports. The petitioner filed a reply affidavit which does not carry the matter further.;

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