Mumbai: The Bombay High Court has directed the passport authority to reconsider the application of former journalist Jigna Vora, who was acquitted of charges of conspiring to murder veteran journalist Jyotirmoy Dey in 2018 in the 2011 killing.
A division bench headed by Justice Revati Mohite-Dere has also instructed the passport authorities to expedite the process.
Vora approached the High Court after her plea was rejected by the session court on April 12, 2023.
Pleas rejected in past due to adverse reports from police
The passport authority had previously rejected Vora’s passport application on March 20, 2020, based on an adverse report from the police.
Subsequently, Vora sought a direction from the sessions court to compel the passport authority to reconsider her passport application. Unfortunately, her plea was rejected by the session court as well.
In May 2018, the sessions court convicted gangster Chota Rajan and eight others, but Vora was acquitted of all charges. However, the sessions court required her to execute a personal bond of Rs 50,000 with one surety of the same amount. Although she executed the personal bond, she sought multiple extensions for providing the surety bond.
Due to the non-execution of the surety bond, the police issued an adverse report to the passport authority.
The sessions court typically requires an acquitted person to execute bonds to ensure their presence during hearings before the High Court in appeal. However, after the High Court upheld her acquittal, her lawyers, Meghashyam Kocharekar and Husayn Kopty, argued that there was no longer a need for her to execute the surety bond.
On October 20, 2020, the passport authority notified her that her application for a passport was closed.
Kicharekar argued that the sessions court order suffered from a "non-application of mind." He emphasized that the adverse police verification report wrongly categorized Vora's case as falling under section 6(2)(f) of the Passports Act, despite there being no pending case against her.
Jyotirmoy Dey was killed on June 11, 2011, and Rajan, along with 11 others, including Vora, were accused in the case.
In June, Netflix aired a six-episode series, 'Scoop,' inspired by Vora's 2019 jail memoir, 'Behind Bars in Byculla: My Days in Prison.'