January 31, 2018
The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) yesterday revoked the proposed practice of issuing orange colored passport for the ECR (Emigration Check Required) category. ECR category is for illiterate people or for those who do not hold a matriculation certificate. The press release issued by the MEA in this context states that-
A decision was taken by the Ministry of External Affairs on the recommendations of a three Member Committee comprising officials of MEA and the Ministry of Women and Child Development, to issue a passport with orange colour jacket to passport holders with ECR status, with a view to help and assist them on priority basis. At a meeting chaired by Smt. Sushma Swaraj, External Affairs Minister, on 29th January, 2018, in the presence of General (Retd.) Dr. V.K. Singh, Minister of State for External Affairs, the MEA has decided to not to issue a separate passport with orange colour jacket to ECR passport holders.
Here it would be relevant to mention that the Kerala High Court on January 28 had issued notice to the Central Government in consequence of a Petition filed in the High Court challenging MEA’s decision to issue orange colour passports for non-matriculates. In the Petition it was alleged that the practice would subject a lesser educated person to humiliation and treating them second class citizens.