New Delhi: Congress leader Rahul Gandhi’s scheduled six-day and three-city tour of the United States starting from May 30 faces the threat of cancellation if a Delhi Court refuses to give him NOC for issuance of an ordinary passport on the plea of former BJP MP Subramanian Swamy.
The former Congress president had approached a Delhi court on Tuesday, seeking an NOC for the issuance of an “ordinary passport” to him after he surrendered his diplomatic passport upon his disqualification as a Lok Sabha MP in March following his conviction in a defamation case.
Right to travel is a fundamental right, says court
While hearing his plea, Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate (ACMM) Vaibhav Mehta observed that the right to travel is a fundamental right and that the courts have not placed any restrictions on the movements of Rahul, who had travelled several times abroad without having to obtain permission.
At the same time, ACMM Mehta said former BJP MP Subramanian Swamy has the right to file a reply on the Congress leader’s application. Rahul is an accused in the National Herald case in which Dr Swamy is the complainant. The court has asked Swamy to file his reply by Friday. The ACMM noted that while granting bail to Rahul in December 2015, the court had placed no restrictions on his travel and that Swamy’s plea for imposition of curbs was then rejected.
Rahul has surrendered his diplomatic passport
But a last minute legal hurdle is giving anxious moments to the Congress. On Friday, a Delhi court is set to give its ruling on Rahul’s plea seeking a no-objection certificate (NOC) for issuance of an “ordinary passport” to him after he surrendered his diplomatic passport following his disqualification as an MP.
During his stay in the US, the Congress leader will have a range of such engagements in San Francisco, Washington DC and New York.
According to his itinerary, Rahul will spend two days each in San Francisco, Washington DC and New York. On May 30, he will have an interaction with the NRI community at Santa Clara Marriott in Santa Clara.
Rahul to speak on the new global equilibrium in Silicon Valley
Rahul will deliver a talk at the Stanford University in Silicon Valley on the topic “The New Global Equilibrium” on May 31. The talk at the Stanford Graduate School of Business is being organised by the Center on Democracy, Development and the Rule of Law.
The former Congress president is slated to have separate meetings with business leaders and a group of artists, he is also scheduled to give some media interviews.
Rahul will be in Washington on June 1 and 2. On June 1, he will speak at the National Press Club on the future of Indian democracy, freedom of speech, and sustainable and inclusive economic growth. An interview with Fareed Zakaria for CNN is being planned. Rahul will also attend a dinner hosted by Indian-American entrepreneur Frank Islam, where in attendance would be business leaders, Senators and Congressmen.
In New York, Rahul will also address Indian Americans on June 4 at the Javits Center besides having a meeting with the Indian Overseas Congress members from across America.
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