High Court Dismisses Mehbooba Mufti’s Plea For Passport

Srinagar, March 29: Jammu and Kashmir High Court on Monday dismissed a petition by PDP chief and former Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti, seeking its directions for issuance of the passport.

A bench of Justice Ali Mohammad Magrey dismissed her plea after hearing Tahir Majid Shamsi Assistant solicitor General of India on behalf of Ministry of External Affairs and B. A. Dar, Senior Additional Advocate General for J&K government and ADGP CID.

As soon as the plea came up for consideration, Shamsi, produced a communication (No. POSK/Court/2021/(77&78)/150-53; dated 26 March), issued by the Passport Officer Srinagar, stating that Mehbooba’s application for the passport has been refused following a report by CID.

“Whereas your fresh passport application was received on 14th of December, 2020 and as per norms forwarded for Police Verification Report (PVR) on the same date, online mode,” the communication reads, adding, “the PVR received from Addl. Director General of Police, J&K-CID do not favour issuance of passport and returned as “NOT RECOMMENDED PASSPORT CASE.””

In view of the J&K CID report, Shamsi said the Passport Officer said that Mehbooba’s case was found to attract refusal under provisions of section 6(2)(c) of the Passport Act, 1967.

The court said that perusal of the contents of the communication brings it to the fore that the Mehbooba’s application for issuance of passport stands refused with the observation as ‘not recommended passport case’ in the light of the Police Verification Report (PVR) received from the Additional Director General of Police, J&K CID.

“Both Mr Shamsi as well as Mr Dar would submit that the petition filed by (Mehbooba) deserves to be dismissed inasmuch as no direction can be issued by this Court in the matter of issuance of passport in favour of (Mehhbooba) which is contrary to the scheme of the law governing the subject,” the court noted in the verdict, a copy of which lies with GNS.

Besides, Shamsi further contended that Mehbooba, given the attending facts and circumstances of the case, has the remedy of appeal to Joint Secretary (PSP) and Chief Passport Officer, Ministry of External Affairs, Patiala House, New Delhi against the refusal order made by passport officer within (30) days from the date of receipt of the order under Section 11 of the Passports Act, 1967, being the appellate Authority under the legislation.

Shamsi, the ASGI, stated that Mehbooba has no absolute right to demand a passport in her favour.

“The passport being a document that vouches for the respectability of the holder, stands to reason that the Government need not vouch for a person it does not consider worthy,” he said.

Jahangir Iqbal Ganai, the Senior Counsel representing Mehbooba submitted that Section 11 of the Passports Act, 1967 is not applicable to the case inasmuch as the rejection/ refusal order of the passport of the Mehbooba has been purportedly issued by the passport officer under Section 6 of the Passport Act which is not covered for appeal under Section 11 of the Act of 1967.

“As per admitted position of the scheme of law governing the grant or otherwise of passport in favour of the citizens of India, the concerned passport Authority, upon receipt of an application from an individual seeking issuance of passport in his/ her favour, has to seek appropriate report from the Police/ CID authorities concerned and, on the basis of such report, the Authority has to issue or refuse passport in favour of the said individual accordingly,” the court said dismissed her plea. gns

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