Passport denied as rules demand evidence of the marriage registration certificate which Jashodaben does not possess
While Prime Minister Narendra Modi might be travelling globally on official visits, his estranged wife Jashodaben seems to be grounded as her ‘incomplete’ application for a passport could not be processed. Despite being acknowledged as his spouse by Modi in his Lok Sabha election candidature affidavit, efforts by Jashodaben and her family to secure an identity document or some official evidence of her marriage to him have been in vain.
Ashok Modi, Jashodaben’s brother who runs a provision store (kirana) at Unjha, and with whom she resides for most part of the year, said, “We are trying to secure a document that would serve as the evidence for her marriage to Narendra Modi. Things have not been smooth sailing for my sister.”
Recently, Jashodaben, accompanied by her brother, had been to the regional passport office (RPO) in Ahmedabad, seeking a passport. The application, however, could not be admitted as it was incomplete. “As per rules, when someone claims that she is married and wants to have a passport with the married name, one has to produce a marriage registration certificate (if the marriage was solemnised after 2006) or submit a joint affidavit with the spouse,” explained Z A Khan, regional passport officer.
In the absence of such a document, the application had to be turned down. She had gone with a copy of the election affidavit filed by Narendra Modi in 2014.
The document required is that of a jointly signed affidavit, which she does not possess. Will she write to the PM seeking such a document? Ashok Modi sounds helpless, “I don’t think she would. I can only help her this far. Beyond this, she has to pick up the cudgel herself.”
Life changed for this unusually reticent woman after Narendra Modi acknowledged her as his spouse. Media attention, scribes from across the globe vying for a brief chat with her, a security cover, fan-letters from across India (the family had proudly showcased them upon a prior visit), even invitations to attend a handful of public functions. The aspirations have also perhaps changed, with Jashodaben now seeking a formal acknowledgement of her relationship with Modi.
She has also objected to her being called by her maiden name, informed a family member who added that in her second RTI application before the State Information Commission in Gandhinagar in May this year, Jashodaben has re-asserted her legally married name of Jashodaben Narendrabhai Modi.
The family further claimed that in response to her RTI in November 2014 seeking details of her security arrangements and her privileges as PM’s spouse, the Mehsana Public Information Officer (PIO) had referred to her as ‘Shrimati Jashodaben, daughter of Chimanlal Modi’.
Her efforts to learn about the reason for her security cover was stonewalled, as the Mehsana Superintendent of Police had refused to share any information on the matter. The SP had denied information stating that as security details are not disclosed under RTI.