Passport Office Proposes, Police Verification Disposes: RTI Shows Citizens’ Grievances Abound
After my story on the smooth process at the Pune passport office was published on 5th August hailing the remarkable efficiency of a once shabbily operated passport office, what hits us now is an anti-climax!
 
I got  several calls complaining that the Pune police verification is slow; they ask for a pile of documents and that you have to follow up rigorously not only with the relevant police station but also use some ‘influence’ at the Pune police commissionerate!
 
So, in effect, if police verification is required for your passport, then you will have to wait for a month at least to finally get your valuable document. This negates the super efficacy of the Pune passport office in accepting your passport application, whether new or for renewal.
 
Check this out. On the same day, that is 5th August, when I visited the Pune passport office for my passport renewal, I received the following email:
 
“Dear VINITA VISHWAS DESHMUKH,
 
This is to inform you that a police verification request has been sent to the police department (refer the following table for details) for your passport application (re-issue passport issuance under normal scheme) submitted with file number PN10**********1. You are requested to get in touch with the respective police office if verification is not done in three weeks.
Thank You!”
 
This means, the Pune passport office promptly sends it online to the Pune police commissionerate or station on that very day! 
 
Today, one week later (12th August), when I called up my relevant police station, the constable said that you need to come to this police station only after you get an SMS on your mobile. 
 
So, how many days is that going to take? 
 
“I can’t say,” says the constable, “but I will ask the officer to hurry up your case.’’ 
 
Giving me any priority is not a point to score for the police station. The point is that, even after the passport division under the ministry of external affairs, (MEA) having directed the Pune police to hasten the verification process way back in 2014, not much has fast forwarded. 
 
In contrast, the Andhra Pradesh police quickly got into the digitalisation mode almost at the same time and during the past five to six years takes 72 hours, on an average, for passport verification. 
 
Several citizens in Pune are unhappy with the lethargic ways of the police. 
 
One of them said that while the relevant police station had cleared it fast enough, the special branch of the Pune police commissionerate was taking unnecessary time. He had to use influence of a higher-up in the police to expedite the process. 
 
Another problem is the list of documents, some unnecessary ones that the police stations ask for police verification and sometimes makes people re-visit for lack of documents. 
 
RTI activist Jeetendra Ghadge of The Young Whistleblowers Foundation says, “Unnecessary documents are demanded by the police just to prove that the citizen lives at that address, several cases of bribery have also been reported during the police verification process, it is high time that the passport authority reconsiders the police verification process for address verification and restrict police involvement only to check the citizen's criminal background. Also, instead of sending the password via postal services, the citizen should have the option to collect the passport from the passport office itself so that the passport reaches on time with no scope for corruption in between.” 
 
Mr Ghadge recently filed a Right to Information (RTI) application to the passport division of MEA seeking information for the period of 1 January 2015 to 31 December 2020, on various grievances of people who applied for their passports. This is for all of India. 
 
He found that 20% complaints are regarding police verification. The central public information officer (CPIO) of the 'Passport Seva Programme' (PSP) division of MEA replied that a whopping 454,000 grievances had been registered on the passport portal. Out of these, a total of 95,899 complaints have been registered regarding police verification issues which is almost 20% of all the complaints.
 
 
Mr Ghadge rues, “Unfortunately on the query of action taken on the complaints received, the passport authority has refused to give any detail of action-taken on the grievances registered on the portal. This clearly indicates that the portal grievance system is not that effective when it comes to addressing the grievances of citizens. Despite filing the first appeal the passport authority has refused to give the details of action taken on the grievances registered.”
 
As per information obtained by Mr Ghadge, 8,632 complaints have been registered where the passport has been dispatched but was not received by the citizen. The passport authority should ask the citizen to collect the passport from the passport office instead of sending via post, he suggests.
 
Starting a proactive campaign from Pune, here’s a request for the citizens of Pune to write to me at [email protected] in case they have had any problems with the police verification process. 
 
(Vinita Deshmukh is consulting editor of Moneylife, an RTI activist and convener of the Pune Metro Jagruti Abhiyaan. She is the recipient of prestigious awards like the Statesman Award for Rural Reporting which she won twice in 1998 and 2005 and the Chameli Devi Jain award for outstanding media person for her investigation series on Dow Chemicals. She co-authored the book “To The Last Bullet - The Inspiring Story of A Braveheart - Ashok Kamte” with Vinita Kamte and is the author of “The Mighty Fall”.)
 
Comments
Ezeelok
2 months ago
It's high time we should stop cribbing about corrupt system when we have such Honest Politicians like Pawars , Thakres , Deshmukhs , Parabs , Rauts , Gandhis , Prafuls , Chhagans , Magans etc appointing equally Honest officers like Parambirs , Vazes , Sharmas , Kazis and Vasooli Gangs etc , they all need money to run & maintain the Corrupt system.
CHAI PANI culture is norm than exception almost in every Govt Department.
You have to bribe two type of officials , ones who have executive powers and other who have nuisance value like Chaprasi , PA , PS etc.
Solution - Pay & Smile as these corrupts are all unified in one area "Suck the Gullibles & Helpless" though they have to face KARMAS one day !!
shetyerb
Replied to Ezeelok comment 2 months ago
Wasting your as well as other readers' Time by such useless posts.
Ezeelok
Replied to shetyerb comment 2 months ago
Agreed Sir , we are truly wasting time as corrupt Politicians , Bureaucrats and Administrators will never change and will continue with dishonesty & deception.
Vasooli Gangs will keep flourishing.
umakantpawaskar
2 months ago
Passport must be delivered by post only, to ensure address verification. I do not agree with demand of Collecting passport from PO.
Ezeelok
Replied to umakantpawaskar comment 2 months ago
Postmen would be very happy & probably bless you for your proposal if it gets converted to a decision by appreciate authorities as that would open a window for Chai Pani to postmen which could be a small Bakshish amount compared to extortion by Police & other members of VASOOLI Gang.
Jgraghu
2 months ago
Telengana Police took less than 24 Hours to do Police verification,; this happened for me , my wife and two children.
They ring up on getting intimation from Passport Office, and come within 12 Hours and upload the Verification immediately.
The ways of Maharashtra Police is very well Known..
anirban taran
Replied to Jgraghu comment 2 months ago
Ditto, PV in HYD happened the very next day of submitting application. Got a call from the inspector that he will visit and was at my residence within an hr. Checked the same documents that I had submitted at the passport office, asked for a photo, took fingerprint, and then verified my info from 2 witnesses in the complex. He left within 15 mins saying, PV done.
The next morning I got SMS stating that PV was completed and the following day, I had my passport. The whole process was very professional and punctual.
r_ashok41
2 months ago
It is no different anywhere in india and only effects middle class people since all others like influencial people mla/mp get it done in a matter of minutes and will not have to go to police station but the police station comes to their home to deliver.This is the situation of corruption in india .That is the reason even after so many years we are living in this legacy which has been used by our bureacracy to the max extent
vaisloorkar
2 months ago
I am by no stretch of imagination well heeled either financially or politically. Hence I represent a random common citizen.

Applied for renewal of passport online on 6.6, got an appointment for 20.6, got an SMS 3 days in advance that appointment is cancelled due to Covid protocol and requesting to reschedule. I dilly dallied and rescheduled for 23.7.

Interview in PSP Pune got over in 30mins. Got passport delivered by Speedpost on 27.7. Got a call fm Police station on 29.7. Verification over in Alankar police stn in 15mins on 30.7. The only extra document they told us in advance to carry was current electricity bill.

Shopping in Big Bazar is more complicated. I am not complaining. In fact, I'm in shock at the super efficiency.

Zip, zap, zoom!
cbk1097
Replied to vaisloorkar comment 2 months ago
Renewal happens quickly and efficiently, even if your are not politically connected or influential. New issue takes time in Pune
mrinal.ayush19
2 months ago
I have faced this issue of Police Verification twice now in Ghaziabad. So much so that even the thought of getting a passport renewed or getting a PCC done gives me shivers. Even if you have all the documents, the police man will file an adverse report for your application. If you have moved thru different states over last 5 years then be ready to get an adverse report. Because the police station will promptly file n adverse report and not ask the concerned state for verification in other states. You will have to go to the RPO for that and the RPO will raise a verification request for the other states. And it is your responsibility for the police to verify all your past addresses even if you have now moved to another state. The police will simply file another adverse report if you or anyone you know does not appear in other state's police station. And they all expect Bribes. The entire process is just to harass common man without any source in the police dept or ministry.
shetyerb
2 months ago
My experience with the Mumbai Police about the 'Police Clearance Certificate' for Passport has been EXCELLENT. I renewed the passport two years back and just two months back had to repeat the process for my US visa. The Time taken even during Pandemic in June 2021 was 21 days.
Maybe Pune Police send a group of four officers to work in four different police stations from Colaba to Bhayandar and see how Mumbai Police is able to do it that fast
sanjeev.galvankar
Replied to shetyerb comment 2 months ago
My experience with the Vasai ,polce station dist. Palghar is similar. Got appointment sms on third and was asked to show Adhar and that was the end of it. Strictly no follow up,no bribes. Great.
S.SuchindranathAiyer
2 months ago
Poona: Statistics show that the Police Department is taking full advantage of Modi's 2016 "Anti-Corruption" law which protects the bribe taker but criminalizes the victim of extortion:
Ezeelok
Replied to S.SuchindranathAiyer comment 2 months ago
Sir

Would appreciate elaboration in public interest.

Thanks ????
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