Ex-CM a threat to nation? Mehbooba Mufti hits out after passport application rejected

Ex-CM a threat to nation? Mehbooba Mufti hits out after passport application rejected

Mehbooba had applied for a fresh passport in December last year after the previous one expired on May 31

The Jammu and Kashmir Police has opposed the issuance of a passport to former Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti citing "adverse report" against her. Hitting out at the central government, Mehbooba Mufti took to Twitter to say that she has been denied a passport based on a report by the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) and asked if an ex-CM was a threat to the nation.

Mehbooba Mufti said, "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 Mufti also attached a copy of the letter she received from the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) which reads: "Whereas the passport verification report received from the Additional Director General of the Police, J&K CID do not favour issuance of passport and has returned as Not recommended passport case."

Mehbooba had applied for a fresh passport in December last year after the previous one expired on May 31, but the application has not been cleared to date in the absence of a police verification report.

The officials had earlier said that “an adverse report” has been filed against her by the Criminal Investigation Department (CID), but refused to elaborate saying the matter would be taken up before the high court.

Hearing the petition on March 23, Additional Solicitor General T M Shamsi, representing the MEA and the regional passport office, sought a short adjournment after the counsel representing the J&K CID informed Justice Ali Mohammed Magrey that the verification report on her passport application had been submitted on March 18.

However, Shamsi informed the court that he had received a communication from the Passport Officer in Srinagar on March 22 and the contents “reveal that the verification of the petitioner is under process and as soon as verification process is completed, the requisite report will be submitted immediately for further course of action”.

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“Communication further reveals that CID verification report in respect of the petitioner is still awaited from the JK CID. Copy of communication so produced by Shamsi is taken on record,” Justice Magrey said while posting the matter for further hearing on March 29.

The counsel for Mehbooba had submitted that the stand taken by the Regional Passport Officer, Srinagar with reference to the non-availability of the report from the JK CID, has delayed the issuance of a passport in favour of the petitioner.

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 according to 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 61-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.

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