Srinagar: A father cannot be made to suffer for any act attributable to his son, the J&K High Court has ruled while directing authorities to issue passport to a 58-year-old man from south Kashmir’s Anantnag district.
Ghulam Ahmad Ganai, of Wubzan in Bijbehara had applied for the passport in 2011. As the travel documents were not issued in his favour for two years, Ganai petitioned the High Court last year, seeking directions for the passport.
His petition was disposed of by the court on April 1, 2013 with a direction to Passport Officer Srinagar to consider his application.
However, on May 2 last year, the Passport Officer through a communication informed him about the rejection of his application on the ground that ADGP, CID had not cleared his case and conveyed it as “not recommended”.
Aggrieved by rejection of the application, Ganai again knocked the doors of High Court, filing a fresh petition through his counsel advocate Mir Shafaqat Hussain, challenging the communication on the ground that it has been made without any justification and without affording an opportunity to him being heard.
Ganai’s case exposes the tall claims by government that any Kashmiri having relation with a militant is not denied a passport.
The state government through Additional Commissioner Home and IGP CID contested the petition on the ground that upon verification of character and antecedents of Ganai, it was revealed that his son–Manzoor Ahmad— had crossed over to Pakistan-administered Kashmir in 2000 for obtaining arms training and he is still there. As such, Ganai’s case was forwarded to Passport Officer as “not recommended”, they said.
In objections to the fresh petition, Home Secretary, Government of India and the Passport officer Srinagar have cited the report by CID Headquarters.
“It is not in dispute that every citizen of India is entitled to visit abroad on a valid passport issued by the Passport Authorities after proper verification of his character and antecedents and in case, anything adverse is found against the person seeking passport which directly or indirectly affects the security and integrity of the country, authorities are justified in refusing passport,” a bench of Justice Bansi Lal Bhat observed.
However in the instant case, court said, the officials have not been able to demonstrate that Ganai has indulged in any activity prejudicial to the security of state.
“It is not the case of respondents that (Ganai) had crossed over to (PaK) for receiving training in handling of arms and explosives to wage war against the state or that he had engaged in any armed insurrection to overthrow the government established by law,” the court said. “He is also not alleged to have participated in any seditious or rebellious activity. The fact that his son crossed over to (PaK) has no bearing on the character and antecedents of (Ganai) against whom there is no report of adverse activity.”
Ganai cannot be made to suffer for any act of commission or omission attributable to his son, said the court, adding that he is answerable to penal consequences for his personal acts bringing him in conflict with law.
The court also recalled observation by its Division Bench in case “Addl. Director General of Police Vs Imtiyaz Ahmad Wani and ors” on June 1, 2010 that the “evils of their other family should not travel upon the writ petitioners when admittedly they are not shown to be in nexus with any of the activities prejudicial to the security of the state or to any manner adversely affecting the sovereignty end integrity of the country.”
“Viewed thus, the impugned order of refusal withholding passport of (Ganai) on the ground that his son had crossed over to (Pak) for receiving training in handling of arms and ammunition cannot be supported,” the court said, holding the ground taken for refusal of passport as “not sufficient in so far as the petitioner it concerned.”
Allowing the petition, the court directed the respondents to issue passport to Ganai provided he completes all the formalities.
“This shall be done within four weeks from the date copy of this order is served upon respondents,” the court added.