The Ministry for External Affairs said yesterday that Vijay Mallya's diplomatic passport had been revoked. The decision was taken after Mallya failed to respond to a notice issued ten days back when his passport was suspended. Now with the passport being revoked, what is the next course of action?
A passport being revoked would mean that the government of india can now make a move to have him extradited from the country of his residence. However in this case the government will have to walk the extra mile since Vijay Mallya has a UK residence. This would mean that he can continue living in the UK even if his Indian passport is revoked.
Mallya has been accused of defaulting on loans taken from various nationalised banks. The Enforcement Directorate had summoned him on three occasions in a case they say involved money laundering.
The law relating to revocation of passorts:
Section 10 in The Passports Act, 1967 deals with impounding of revocation of passports. The passport authority may impound or cause to be impounded or revoke a passport or travel document if the passport authority is satisfied that the holder of the passport or travel document is in wrongful possession. The passport may be impounded if the holder of the passport or travel document has failed to comply with a notice.
On the revocation of a passport or travel document under this section the holder thereof shall, without delay, surrender the passport or travel document, if the same has not already been impounded, to the authority by whom it has been revoked or to such other authority as may be specified in this behalf in the order of revocation.
Helps in extradition:
The government of India had said that it would seek the extradition of Mallya. An extradition request can be made only after a due process of law is followed. In the case of Vijay Mallya, it was the Enforcement Directorate which had issued summons to him.
However after he failed to respond to the summons thrice, a court was moved and a non-bailable warrant issued. Prior to this the MEA had suspended his passport and given him a week's time to respond to the notice. He failed to respond to the notice and hence his passport was revoked.
These are grounds for India which will have to be mentioned in the extradition request. Since Mallya has UK residence, the grounds would need to be much stronger. India will have to put up a solid request in order to have him extradited. The revocation of the passport is one such step in this direction.