Wednesday, September 27, 2023

Delhi High Court directs J&K to decide on renewal of PDP Chief Mehbooba Mufti’s passport within three months

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The Delhi High Court on Friday ordered the Regional Passport Officer in Srinagar, Jammu and Kashmir, to decide on renewal of PDP Chief Mehbooba Mufti’s passport within three months. 

The Single-Judge Bench of Justice Pratibha Singh passed the order on a petition filed by the former Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir, seeking expeditious decision on her appeal against the rejection of her application for renewal of the passport.

Appearing for the Central government, Advocate Kirtiman Singh apprised the High Court that the Passport Authority in Srinagar has been directed to take a fresh decision on Mufti’s request for issuance of passport.

A decision to this effect was taken yesterday and the matter has been remanded to the Passport Office in Srinagar, said the Counsel.

Justice Singh, while taking note of the fact that the matter has been remanded back to the regional passport officer and there has been a delay of almost two years since the rejection of her application, directed the Regional Passport Officer to take a decision within three months and disposed of the petition.

In 2020, the PDP chief had approached the passport office in Srinagar for renewal of her passport. After being denied the same, she moved the Jammu & Kashmir and Ladakh High Court.

The Single-Judge Bench of Justice (since retired) Ali Mohammad Magrey had dismissed her petition in March, 2021, saying that the scope of the court in a matter of grant or otherwise of passport in favour of an individual was very limited as it could only direct the concerned authorities to expeditiously consider the case of an individual in the light of the mandate of the scheme of law governing the subject.

The Jammu and Kashmir CID had recommended against giving passport to Mehbooba Mufti.

The High Court had noted that the respondents sought report from the Police/CID authorities on the matter and issued an order in tune with the recommendations made by the police/CID authorities.

However in April 2021, a Division Bench of the High Court granted Mufti liberty to approach the appropriate authority to avail proper remedy available to her in the case.

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