news Tuesday, May 12, 2015 - 05:30

Little did Debjani Krishnan know that her personal choice to live-in with her fiancĂ© would make the process of passport renewal an unnecessarily prolonged affair, as the police could not figure out why she was living with her partner before marriage. IT professional Debjani Krishnan’s work involves travelling abroad on a regular basis. With six months left for her passport to expire, she applied for renewal. A police verification that should have been routine, instead turned into a hassle that required her to visit the juridicational police station six times submitting one document after another.  Fedup up with the baffling behavious of the police, Debjani decided to make the letter she wrote to DCP and Commissioner of Police public. In  a Facebook post on May 8, Debjani described the whole ordeal. Debjani Krishnan moved in with her fiancĂ© Krishnan Subramaniam in March 2014. That October, the couple got married and had their marriage registered. However, this fact of her living arrangements had the police confused.  In a bid to avoid any last minute trouble, Debjani decided to apply for passport renewal in March, even though her passport would only expire in September this year. Given that she was now married, she had sought a change in her surname and permanent address. Her application ran into trouble after it reached the Kadugodi police for verification. On March 28, 2015, Debjani received a call from police constable Muniraju asking her to visit the police station for verification. Muniraju was not entirely convinced the documents and asked her to submit more documents to prove her residence in the stated address. What was apparently confusing, was that she had stated that she had begun living at the new residence in March 2014, while she got married in October that year, thereby indicating that she had been living in with her partner, even before the wedding. After making five rounds to the police station and submitting every document he had asked for, Muniraju then asked her to visit the police commissioner’s office claiming that there were issues with her papers. On April 10, when she and her husband went to the station to meet Muniraju before going to the Police Commissioner's office, he wasn’t available. other officials who were present offered to help them. After looking at their documents, she realised that the real problem for the police, appeared to be that she had been living with a man before being married to him.  "They questioned how I could have been living in with a person without being married to him--several remarks were passed over this, which IMO (In My Opinion) is none of their business. I didn't quite understand what mistake I made by being truthful." - Debjani's Facebook post A distraught Debjani and her husband then made their way to the commissioner’s office. To their relief, it was explained to them the mismatch of dates between her date of moving to her current residence (March 1, 2014) and her marriage date (October 27, 2014) had caused the confusion. The same night, Debjani got a message from passport office which said that the police had filed an adverse report. Frustrated at the development, Debjani dashed off a letter to the commissioner while also making her ordeal public on Facebook. This caught the attention of the police, who swung into action. Nearly a month later, on May 8 the police sent another official to her residence for the purpose of verification, which went smoothly. On Tuesday evening, Debjani received an email from the Commissioner of Police M N Reddi and the Passport Department saying that her application had been verified by the police department and was in the last stages of approval. Debjani felt that the police were biased against her for having a live-in relationship, and now thinks that there is a necessity to educate police officials about what can be rightfully asked by them. Secondly, she says that there is also a need for citizens to be aware of their rights in such circumstances.

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