‘Elderly must get passports with age affidavit as proof’

Applications for a passport by the elderly — especially those who cannot read or write — who produce an affidavit as proof of age instead of their birth certificates should not be ‘put on hold’ at the Regional Passport Office in Chennai, activists have appealed.

“For illiterate and semi-literate persons born before 1989, an affidavit, stating the date and place of birth and sworn before a notary, is adequate proof of age while applying for passports,” said Syed Shabbeer Hussain of Royapettah, showing a copy of the notification he had obtained from the ministry through a Right to Information Act query.

He helps people coming from remote villages in preparing the required paperwork. He said there were many senior citizens who do not have their birth certificates.

Applications with an affidavit as age proof are put on hold. “Unless brought to the attention of senior officials, the papers do not move. The delay causes a lot of pain to those who need the passport to meet their relatives. There are many elderly women who need it to go abroad for a job,” Mr. Hussain said. Getting a birth certificate from a local body proved extremely difficult and time-consuming for the elderly, he added.

Sources at the RPO said, for people born after 1989, a birth- or school-leaving certificate is mandatory, and for those born before 1989, an affidavit was sufficient. Staff members are cautious while going through applications with affidavits attached as age proof as they feared being pulled up in the event of complications.

The sources added that a special counter to handle these applications would be beneficial.

(With inputs from P.Oppili)

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Printable version | Oct 19, 2021 2:03:28 AM |

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