A metropolitan court on Wednesday asked former Bharatiya Janata Party member of Parliament Subramanian Swamy to file his written submissions by Friday in response to a plea by Congress leader Rahul Gandhi for a no-objection certificate to facilitate issuance of an "ordinary passport" to him after he surrendered his diplomatic passport upon his disqualification as an MP.
Gandhi, who was disqualified as a Lok Sabha member after his conviction in a defamation case, is an accused in the National Herald case in which Swamy is the complainant.
The Congress leader, whose sentence has been suspended in the defamation case filed over his remarks about Prime Minister Narendra Modi's surname, had moved the court seeking a no-objection certificate on Tuesday.
Additional chief metropolitan magistrate Vaibhav Mehta observed that while granting bail to Gandhi, the court had placed no restrictions on his travel. The court, the magistrate said, had rejected Swamy's request for restrictions on Gandhi's travel.
The magistrate said since the right to travel is a fundamental right and the court had placed no restrictions on Gandhi's movement, he travelled several times without having to obtain permission from any court.
Gandhi's counsel Tarannum Cheema, who appeared along with advocates Nikhil Bhalla and Sumit Kumar, sought grant of a no-objection certificate (NoC) to the Congress leader so he could secure a fresh passport.
ACMM Mehta, however, said Swamy has the right to file a reply on the application.
The court allowed Swamy to file his response by May 26 after he sought time. The magistrate said he will hear arguments on the matter the same day.
"The applicant ceased to be a member of Parliament in March 2023 and as such he surrendered his diplomatic passport and is applying for a fresh ordinary passport. By way of the present application, the applicant is seeking permission and no objection from this Court for issuance of fresh ordinary passport to him," the application said.