The former chief minister of J&K and two-time member parliament Mehbooba Mufti after being denied a passport has approached the Jammu and Kashmir High Court for issuance of the passport. The passport is denied to her for want of police verification.
In her petition, Mehbooba says, “The petitioner has been a member of the state assembly of Jammu and Kashmir and a member of Indian Parliament, representing Anantnag Constituency in the 14th and 16th Lok Sabha.”
“The petitioner has also served as a Chief Minister of J&K state from April 4, 2016, to June 19, 2018,” the petition reads.
The petition says she had applied for the issuance of a passport before the regional passport officer on December 11, 2020. “The passport as per the instruction manual is expected to be dispatched within approximately 30 days,” she says.
She said after she noticed that the passport has not been dispatched and the same is pending for the physical police verification, she submitted a representation to the concerned police officer requesting that the police verification report be forwarded to that of (RPO) at the earliest so that there is no delay in the issuance of the passport.
She says despite representation, it appears from the record that the (additional director general of police, CID) for reasons unknown, till date has not forwarded the police verification report.”
The petitioner says she has a right to hold a passport in terms of the mandate of Article 21 of the Constitution of India. “The delay in issuing a passport in favour of the petitioner is an act which is not in conformity with the constitutional mandate and the provisions of Passport Act. The delay occasioned in issuing the passport in favour of the petitioner has an effect of imposing restrictions on the rights of the petitioner vested upon her by the Constitution of India, which guarantees her freedom to travel abroad,” the petition reads. “It is essential to state here that right to travel abroad inheres in right to life and liberty as guaranteed under Article 21 of the constitution of India,” the petition reads.
She sought directions from the High Court to the respondents to issue a passport in her favour expeditiously.
She has also sought directions declaring the action of officials concerned in not allowing her to travel abroad as illegal and unconstitutional violating her fundamental right to travel abroad as guaranteed under Article 21 of the Constitution of India.
“Any such order or direction which this the court may consider appropriate in the given facts and circumstances of the case,” she says.
Mehbooba was arrested on August 5, 2019, the day the government revoked Article 370 amid military siege, communication blockade, and arrest of thousands of people. She was booked under section 107 of CrPC. Six months later the former chief minister was booked under the PSA. The PSA dossier referred to Mehbooba as being a “daddy’s girl.” The dossier also equated her with Kota Rani, a medieval queen in Kashmir, who rose to power through dubious means such as poisoning her opponents. The dossier also makes comments on the marital status of Mehbooba Mufti, terming that it did not “last long.” She was released on October 13, last year.
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