Authorities in Srinagar have refused to provide a passport to former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Mehbooba Mufti.
The PDP chief has alleged that the move comes in the backdrop of a report published by the J&K Criminal Investigation Department (CID), which stated that it would be “detrimental to the security of India” to issue a passport to Mehbooba.
“Passport Office refused to issue my passport based on CID’s report citing it as ‘detrimental to the security of India. This is the level of normalcy achieved in Kashmir since Aug 2019 that an ex Chief Minister holding a passport is a threat to the sovereignty of a mighty nation,” Mehbooba tweeted.
Passport Office refused to issue my passport based on CID’s report citing it as ‘detrimental to the security of India. This is the level of normalcy achieved in Kashmir since Aug 2019 that an ex Chief Minister holding a passport is a threat to the sovereignty of a mighty nation. pic.twitter.com/3Z2CfDgmJy— Mehbooba Mufti (@MehboobaMufti) March 29, 2021
Prior to this, the Jammu and Kashmir High Court had issued a notice to the local administration following a petition filed by the PDP chief.
Former Advocate General Jahangir Iqbal Ganai, who had represented Mehbooba, informed the court that “as per circular instructions issued by the Ministry of External Affairs, Government of India, the passport of an individual is to be issued within 30 days. But in the instant case, despite the lapse of three months, the passport has not been issued to the petitioner.”
In her petition, Mehbooba had alleged that her police verification report had not been forwarded to the passport office.
“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,” Mehbooba’s petition stated while seeking a passport.
She also highlighted her right to hold a passport as part of provisions of Article 21 of the Constitution.
“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 the 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 PDP chief’s petition sated.
Mehbooba can now appeal against the decision of the Regional Passport Office (Srinagar) at a higher forum of the ministry of external affairs (MEA).
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