Monday, November 28, 2005

SC order in Discriminatory Passport Rule for Women

Kathmandu, Nov 28-The Supreme Court today directed the government not to impose any restriction while issuing passports to women.A division bench of justices Badri Kumar Basnet and Balram KC issued the directive responding to a writ petition filed by Punyabati Pathak and Mana Basnet Pathak challenging a ten-year-old cabinet decision that make consent from the guardians mandatory for women to get passports.“The provision is against the right to freedom guaranteed by the Article 12(2) of the constitution and it needs to be scrapped as it contradicts the Constitution,” the bench ruled.

The petitioners had challenged the cabinet decision, which had barred the government authorities from issuing passports to women under 35 years of age without the consent of their guardians. The bench also directed the Office of the Prime Minister and the Cabinet, Ministers of Home and Foreign Affairs, Women Children and Social Welfare and the Kathmandu District Administration Office to issue passports without imposing such a criteria. “The provision cannot exist since it is against the right to freedom guaranteed by Article 12 (2) of the Constitution,” the division bench ruled. Terming the provision discriminatory against women, the bench said the requirement of guardians’ consent to obtain a passport is against the spirit of the Universal Declaration 1948 and Covenant on Civil and Political Rights 1966.

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