March 4, 2021 4:10:24 am
Former J&K chief minister and PDP president Mehbooba Mufti on Tuesday petitioned the J&K High Court and sought issuance of a passport.
In her petition, Mufti stated that more than two months since she applied for her passport the police are yet to file their verification report, delaying the process. The matter was listed before the court on Wednesday but did not come up for hearing.
Citing inaction on the part of respondents 3 and 5 – ADGP CID, J&K Police, and SSP, Srinagar – Mufti’s petition states that “administrative delay is a facet of arbitrariness and against the rule of law. Submitting of police verification report cannot be left to the sole discretion of the authority. As Law does not recognise unfettered discretion, submitting of police verification report cannot be left to the caprice of the respondent Nos.3 and 5.” Terming the delay “illegal”, the petition argues that it “violates with impunity” the mandate of Article 21 of the Constitution.
Underscoring her right to travel, the petition, filed through advocate Jehangir Iqbal Ganai, states that 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,” as expressed under “Personal Liberty” in Article 21 of the Constitution.
The petition argues that this right “cannot be curtailed” except in accordance with the procedure established by law.
Advocate Ganai told The Indian Express, “As per law, the passport should have been issued in a month’s time. But on account of the delay in verification it has not been issued in over two months.” The validity of Mufti’s previous passport expired on May 31, 2019. A fresh application of the petitioner was submitted on December 12 last year.
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