This post has been self-published on Youth Ki Awaaz by Asha Kanta Sharma. Just like them, anyone can publish on Youth Ki Awaaz.

Rampant Corruption During Police Verification For Passport Needs To Stop

More from Asha Kanta Sharma

Image Source: Getty Images

We would like to bring everyone’s kind attention to various corrupt practices at the time of the police verification process for the procurement of passports, that are rampant across the country. Many people have to bribe the police or other officials to receive their passports. In an online poll, 46% of citizens admitted to having paid a bribe while getting their passport made.

In the poll conducted by the citizen engagement platform Local Circles, 37% people said that they had paid the bribe during police verification, 4% paid it to the postman and 5% paid it to the passport officer through an agent. Passport is one of the most important identity documents in India. Getting a passport made had been a tedious task for many years, but the advent of technology seemed to have eased out some issues. Although citizens living in metro cities have found the process of getting a passport made or renewed to have become easier, it is still an uphill task for people living in tier II and III cities. The entire process of passport verification is sometimes very slow and delivery of the passports takes a lot of time, creating a problem for those who need their passports urgently. Many passport verification requests remain pending with various police stations in the city and in some cases, the police take around two, three, four, five months to complete the verification and in worst cases even years.

Indeed, bribery seems to have seeped into almost all aspects of our lives in society. More worrying than this trend is the normalization of bribery – we have become so used to it that we have started seeing it as a part and parcel of everyday life. While in the Passport Seva Kendra, we interacted with other people applying for their own passports. While talking to them, we were surprised to know how almost all of them said that the next process – the police verification – would involve bribing the police official else the process would take ages. We were shocked by how people talked about bribery with such complacency, as though it was a normal component of the process to get a passport. Nobody was outraged by it. It was disturbing. Bribery is illegal, but it has become an acceptable norm in society.

We had applied for a passport as on January 8, 2019, visited the Passport office on Januar, 2019,2019 and completed all the formalities as required. Up to this, our experience was smooth and hassle-free. The problem started after this when we were waiting to be called for ‘police verification’ to our nearest police station. Days passed waiting but nothing was happening. On Feb 9, 2019, we received a call from them. They asked us to come to the police station the next day along with the documents. Why it took 30 days for the files to reach the local police station? When the police contacted us, they first asked us to come to the police station for the address verification. Which was meaningless in itself; how can someone verify an address without visiting it in the first place?

This needs to be stopped at any cost as people can be issued passports without address being checked which can lead to serious consequences in the future which might affect security and integrity of the country. However, we had completed the police verification and had to bribe the police officials in spite of having all the necessary documents with us, as they threatened us that they will not process the file if we did not pay them. The officials have become so used to asking for money, that they literally negotiate the amount as if they are settling a transaction of sale We also didn’t want to delay the process, as it was already delayed by more than 30 days now.

Upon the completion of police verification, the officials told us that they will be forwarding/clearing the files from their end within the next three working days. After three days, we were eagerly checking the online status of our application, which was still showing as “pending for physical police verification at respective thane under SP Office”.  A month passed by and the status remained the same. We visited the SP Office and asked the officer concerned regarding our files, on which they replied “we receive so many applications on a regular basis and it is not possible for us to deal with each of them in a definite time frame. Your application was there in a bundle of documents, so it took time for us to locate it”.

We thought that there might have been shortages of officials or they might not be performing their duties properly and diligently. Many times the officials are on leave and nobody is doing their part of work and so the pending files keep on increasing. There is a shortage of manpower in the Central Passport Organization, to deal with the increasing demand for services. People coming from distant places had to be returned due to the absence of the concerned people, which cost them a lot of time and money. Why isnt there a backup option in place? It’s strange that the country is facing an employment crisis and there is a shortage of officials at government offices.

In many cases when the applicants visit the place, they are told that their application was on hold as the provided documents were not clear or more documents are needed for further clarification. Why can’t the officials’ convey such vital information to applicants via email or text messages, if any documents are missing or any clarification is required on any documents provided to them? It’s a really pathetic condition.

In many cases, it seems officials do not bother to check applications or solve problems faced by the people unless they are ordered to do so by the higher authorities. Many people tweeted regarding the delay in issuance of their passports and within a couple of days things turn around and they got their passports.

Corruption is a disease, cancer that eats into the cultural, political and economic fabric of society, and destroys the functioning of vital organs. In the words of Transparency International, “Corruption is one of the greatest challenges of the contemporary world. It undermines the good government, fundamentally distorts public policy, leads to the misallocation of resources, harms the private sector and private sector development and particularly hurts the poor.” According to the latest findings (2017) of Transparency International, India had the highest rate of bribery among the 16 Asia-Pacific countries. Among all the respondents from the Asia-Pacific, 22% believed corruption had decreased, while 40% (41% in India) were of the belief that corruption was on the rise.

The report reads that seven out of ten Indians had paid a bribe while accessing public services. In contrast, only 0.2% of the respondents from Japan reported paying a bribe. In India, the respondents reported the highest bribery incidents in procuring public healthcare services and even identification related documents. Almost 59% of the respondents had paid a bribe for such services. Bribes paid for education were next on the list with 58% having reported doing so. In countries like India, Pakistan, and Thailand, it was the economically weaker sections which had to bear the brunt of corruption and bribery. 73% of those who paid a bribe in India were from the poorer section of society, in Pakistan and Thailand this percentage was 64% and 46% respectively.

Citizens also suggested some ways to improve the passport making process. They suggested that a time duration be set for the police verification, police officers should be able to monitor the verification cases assigned to them on their smartphones, paperwork be reduced, the progress should be made trackable online, old rules which cause confusion should be revamped and separate counters being made for different services like fresh application, re-issue, renewal etc.

We blame the system more than we blame corrupt officials. The system makes people like them feel powerful and makes the people entrusted with preserving the law to break the law themselves. In many cases, most of the Passport Police Verification Officer behave rudely and frightened or scared the common public in the name of the government. People were told that if they don’t bribe or pay the verification fee (which is from Rs 500 to Rs 5000) their passports will be canceled and even their voting rights will be forfeited.

In one case, Lake Police Station Passport Verification Officer at Dhakuria, Kolkata asked for money despite all documents and was to leave the applicant’s house without a bribe. Police verification process has emerged as one of the biggest sources of corruption and harassment for applicants of new passports. The bribe was even justified in most cases as a payback for the expenses incurred to make the trip from the police station to the house of the applicant and back to the police station.

Many have reported on the portal that they were issued veiled threats that non-payment of a bribe may lead to adverse reports or a delay in the report. The average kickback ranges from Rs. 500 to Rs. 5000, in most cases, the analysis pointed out. In most cases, the applicants are summoned to the police station for verification, in contravention to norms. This often leads to harassment of the applicant. Many, especially women, are intimidated by these visits to the police station. In many cases, the police often do not call in advance and fix an appointment resulting in them landing up at the doorstep when the applicant is not at home.

Israelmore Ayivor rightly said “You don’t necessarily need atomic bombs to destroy a nation. [Citizens] who value their pockets over the life of other citizens always do that every day”. The Government of India should take effective measures to eliminate all forms of corruption prevailing in India. Moreover, every citizen should do their part to bring in the much-needed change for the overall growth and prosperity of our country.


You must be to comment.

More from Asha Kanta Sharma

Similar Posts

By dr.afshan afreen

By Pallavi Mudgal

By Abhishek Prakash

    If you do not receive an email within the next 5 mins, please check your spam box or email us at

      If you do not receive an email within the next 5 mins, please check your spam box or email us at

        If you do not receive an email within the next 5 mins, please check your spam box or email us at

        Wondering what to write about?

        Here are some topics to get you started

        Share your details to download the report.

        We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

        Share your details to download the report.

        We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

        An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

        Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

        Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

        The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

        Read more about his campaign.

        Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

        Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

        Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

        Read more about her campaign.

        MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

        With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

        Read more about her campaign. 

        A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

        As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

        Find out more about the campaign here.

        A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

        She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

        Read more about the campaign here.

        A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

        The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

        Read more about the campaign here.

        A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

        As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

        Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

        Find out more about her campaign here.

        Share your details to download the report.

        We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

        A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

        A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

        Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

        A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform, demanding that the Government of Assam install
        biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

        Bidisha was selected in’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
        campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

        Sign up for the Youth Ki Awaaz Prime Ministerial Brief below