Narmada Bachao Andolan activist and vociferously a ‘pro-people’ and ‘pro-environment’ individual (by her own claims), Medha Patkar, has been served with a show-cause notice by the Regional Passport Office, Mumbai. The RPO notice inquires from the activist as to why her passport should not be impounded.
Medha Patkar is the founding member of the 32-year-old movement called Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA) in three states- Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Gujarat. NBA has been engaged in a fight against the dams related to the Sardar Sarovar dam project. By virtue of which, Patkar can be called an obstructionist, denying many regions of infrastructural development. For modern anti-development activists, Medha Patkar serves as an inspiration.
The Mumbai RPO has served the lady with a notice following a complaint by journalist Sanjeev Jha in June, in which he claimed that Patkar had not revealed any criminal cases against her while applying for an Indian passport. In the notice, it has been stated that nine criminal cases have been registered against Madha PAtkar so far. Three in Barwani, one in Alirajpur and five in Khandwa district of Madhya Pradesh.
“In view of the same it is proposed to impound your passport bearing and any other passport if issued subsequently under section 10(3)(e) of the Passports Act 1967. You are requested to state why action should not be taken under section 12(1) of the Passports Act 1967,” the notice issued by the passport office on October 18 said. Most of these cases pertain to Medha Patkar and her coterie rioting and obstructing government officials from carrying out their duties smoothly.
Section 12 of the Passports Act states that whosoever “knowingly furnishes any false information or suppresses any material information with a view to obtaining a passport or travel document shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term which may extend to two years or with fine which may extend to Rs 5,000 or with both.”
Recently, Aatish Taseer OCI status was revoked by the Indian Government for concealing the fact from authorities that his father was of Pakistani origin. Now with Medha Patkar concealing information on a much larger scale, it is more than evident that her passport would be impounded, not to mention the legal action which will also be taken against her under the Passports Act.
This is a reminder to all those who think they are above the law. No matter how influential, politically connected or resourceful you are, the Indian government of today will not give you a free run any longer. India is not afraid of enforcing its laws regardless what the stature of the individual is. Of course, the left-liberals will smell vendetta in this move, however, they must remember that laws not implemented are next to redundant laws. In Medha Patkar’s case, the law is about to take its own course.