In a welcome move against corruption cases, the government has finalised new guidelines to check corrupt officials, stating that government officers charged with corruption or criminal case will be denied vigilance clearance for obtaining passport.
Authorities concerned, however, can consider cases where such officers need to travel overseas in extreme medical emergencies, the Personnel Ministry stated.
"As a policy, ordinarily, a passport will not be granted if a disciplinary proceeding is pending against the officer. However, the competent authority can take a view wherein a foreign travel is necessitated due to extreme urgent situation like medical emergencies etc. on case to case basis," the ministry said.
The order regarding the new guidelines was issued to secretaries of all central government departments.
"Vigilance clearance shall not be withheld due to an FIR filed on the basis of a private complaint unless a charge-sheet has been filed by the investigating agency provided that there are no directions to the contrary by a competent court of law," the guidelines states.
According to the guidelines, the vigilance clearance can be withheld if the officer is charged with corruption involving a trap or raid case and investigation is pending; an FIR has been filed or a case registered by any government entity against the officer, after a preliminary fact-finding inquiry, and if the officer is under suspension.
The vigilance clearance will also be denied in case a charge sheet has been filed in a court by the investigating agency in a criminal case and the case is pending; a sanction for investigation or prosecution has been granted by the competent authority in a case under the Prevention of Corruption Act or any other criminal matter, and a charge sheet has been issued against the officer in a disciplinary proceeding and the proceeding is pending, it said.
However, the concerned passport issuing authority will make the final decision on the matter.
All civil services officers need vigilance clearance for obtaining Indian passport to travel overseas.