Justice R Mahadevan sought the explanation on finding that the Regional Passport Office had impounded the filmmaker’s passport earlier this month citing criminal defamation filed against her by director Susi Ganesan, whom she had accused of sexual harassment in 2018 in #MeToo.
Manimekalai in her plea submitted that the passport authority had emailed her in February this year, issuing a show-cause notice asking her to explain why her passport should not be impounded under Sections 10 (3)(e) and 12 (1)(b) of the Passport Act, 1967 since a criminal case is pending against her before Court.
But despite replying to the same via email in March 2021, a similar email was sent again in August issuing a show-cause notice and stating that there is an adverse police verification report against her.
However, notwithstanding her reply a day later, the Passport Authority sent an email on September 9, stating her passport has been impounded, she said.
The filmmaker further submitted that the passport impoundment order comes at a time when she has been asked by the renowned York University, Toronto, Canada to be present on campus for research work as part of the Graduate Program in Film she has been pursuing since last year on a full scholarship.
Contending that the impoundment order is unwarranted and deserves to be set aside, she stated in her plea that the private defamation complaint filed by Susi Ganesan against her in 2019 was only done to harass her and make her run from pillar to post to save her rights.