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Delhi Court grants NOC for issuance of fresh passport to Rahul Gandhi for three years

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Rahul Gandhi had sought a NOC for the issuance of an "ordinary passport" after he surrendered his diplomatic passport upon his disqualification as an MP. NEW DELHI:  A Delhi court on Friday granted a no-objection certificate (NOC) to Congress leader Rahul Gandhi for issuance of an 'ordinary passport' for three years instead of 10, the period for which it is normally issued, following an objection raised by BJP leader Subramanian Swamy.

The former Congress president had surrendered his diplomatic passport upon his disqualification as an MP. "I'm partly allowing your application. Not for 10 years but three years," Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate (ACMM) Vaibhav Mehta told.  Gandhi approached the Rouse Avenue Court with his application earlier this week in relation to the new 'ordinary passport'.

The Congress leader's disqualification as MP was following his conviction by a Gujarat court in a defamation case linked to his remarks about Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s surname. The former Congress chief is an accused in the National Herald case in which BJP leader Subramanian Swamy is the complainant. The National Herald case, currently under investigation by the Enforcement Directorate, stems from a private complaint lodged by Swamy in 2012.

WATCH: Rahul Gandhi is scheduled to visit the United States in the first week of June during which he will attend meetings and interact with university students. The magisterial court, in the forenoon, reserved its order on Gandhi's plea for grant of NOC after hearing submissions of his lawyers and Swamy, who is the complainant in the National Herald case. Swamy opposed the application, saying it was "devoid of any merit" and insisted the passport should be issued only for one year and renewed every year thereafter. " It is a special case. The passport should not be issued for 10 years. It seems wrong", he said and claimed Gandhi's Indian citizenship was under question.

He alleged Gandhi was a British citizen. Gandhi's advocate Tarannum Cheema contested Swamy's claim and said two petitions asking for initiating criminal proceedings against the Congress leader on the citizenship issue have already been dismissed by higher courts. Cheema, along with advocates Nikhil Bhalla and Sumit Kumar, urged the court to allow the passport to be issued for 10 years since such relief has been granted by higher courts in cases involving more serious offences.

They said in the present case even charges have not been framed. On March 24, the Wayanad Lok Sabha constituency in Kerala was declared vacant after Rahul Gandhi, who represented it in the Lok Sabha, was disqualified following his conviction in a defamation case in which he was sentenced to a two-year jail term.

The Congress leader, whose sentence has been suspended in the defamation case filed over his remarks about Prime Minister Narendra Modi's surname, had moved the court seeking a no-objection certificate on Tuesday. (with inputs from PTI) (THE NEW INDIAN EXPRESS)

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