At around 2pm May 13, 2015 , Greenpeace India campaigner Priya Pillai visited the Foreigners Regional Registration Office (FRRO) in Delhi to have the ‘offload’ stamp officially expunged from her passport. The action marks the end of a four month ordeal which was was triggered by a controversial ‘look-out circular’ from the Intelligence Bureau.
The travel restriction was overturned by the Delhi high court in March, and was formally revoked today. In his order, Justice Rajiv Shakdher had said that Pillai’s right to travel abroad “cannot be impeded only because it is not in sync with policy perspective of the executive”.
Speaking from the steps of the FRRO with her ‘clean’ passport in her hands, Priya Pillai said: “Today I feel relief, as well as great pride in India’s legal system and our democracy as a whole. But we should not have to rely on the courts to deal with overzealous actions from the MHA. As I speak, Greenpeace India’s national bank accounts are still blocked, meaning that Indian citizens are being prevented from supporting a democratic cause. That is shameful. “We believe that our case is strong and expect that the courts will rule in our favour once again. But the MHA knows that we do not have much time left. It lacks the courage to try to ban Greenpeace outright and is using arbitrary penalties to strangle us. This won’t work. I am confident that democracy will win out in the end.”