HC seeks govt response on Mehbooba's petition over delay in issuing passport8 March 2021
Srinagar: The Jammu and Kashmir High Court on Monday sought a report from the government within two weeks on a plea filed by PDP president and former chief minister Mehbooba Mufti over delay in issuance of passport to her. Mehbooba had applied for a fresh passport in December last year after its expiry on May 31. However, her passport application has not been cleared till date due to want of a police verification report. Hearing the petition, Justice Ali Mohammad Magrey noted the submissions put forth by the PDP president through her counsel Jahangir Iqbal Ganai and granted the central and J&K governments two weeks time to file a response or objections in the case. However, the court made it clear that the pendency of writ petition would not form any impediment for the police agency to expedite the verification process. In the petition, Mehbooba said her passport expired on May 31 last year and accordingly she applied for issuance of a fresh passport before the authorities concerned on December 11, 2020. Mehbooba's counsel submitted that as per circular instructions issued by the Ministry of External Affairs, the passport of an individual is to be issued within 30 days but in the instant case, despite lapse of three months, passport has not been issued to the petitioner due to the pending police verification. The 60-year-old politician was put under preventive custody on August 5, 2019, the day the central government revoked the special status of Jammu and Kashmir under Article 370 and bifurcated the erstwhile state into union territories. She was released in October last year after the Union Territory administration revoked the charges under the Public Safety Act against her.