passport
A French civil servant sues the French authorities for denying his initial passport application for grinning in the photo.Reuters

A French court has upheld a ban on smiling in photos taken for passports. It comes after the French authorities were sued by a civil servant in Paris, whose initial passport application was denied as he was smiling in his photo.

Despite him denying the fact that he was smiling, he said that the picture portray a neutral expression with his lips turned upwards from the corners.

The name of the civil servant has not been revealed. He even tried pursuing the French authorities to allow the photos of smiling people in passports. According to him, doing so would sway away national depression and generate a positive image of France in front of the world, stated media reports.

But his request did not impress the French authorities and went in vain. The court stated that a person's expression in the passport must be neutral with closed mouth and fixed on the lens, as officially ordered by France in 2009.

The court strictly stood by its 'no smiling in the passport picture' rule. "If they stopped asking the French to be miserable on their IDs, they'd give the morale of the nation a little lift," said Romain Boulet, the lawyer representing the anonymous civil servant, according to a report by the Guardian.

The lawyer further argued that people can smile while giving a neutral expression and keeping their mouth shut like Mona Lisa does in Leonardo da Vinci's popular painting.

"The day started with a smile, and will finish with one whatever happens: a big, frank, expressive smile," the civil servant told journalists outside the court.

"For the last few days, French people have contacted me and expressed their support. There's an army in the shadows and they will be an army of smiles at my side," the unnamed official ended.

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