Chief Passport Officer to decide appeal of Mehbooba’s mother within 2 weeks: HC

Chief Passport Officer to decide appeal of Mehbooba’s mother within 2 weeks: HC

Srinagar: The High Court of Jammu and Kashmir on Wednesday directed the Chief Passport Officer to decide the statutory appeal filed by Mehbooba Mufti’s mother over non-issuance of passport to her.
The court directed the CPO, Ministry of External Affairs, Government of India, to decide the appeal within two weeks.
Justice Sanjeev Kumar also directed police authorities to file their objections in the matter.
The plea filed by 79-year-old Gulshan Nazir, mother of former Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti, had sought intervention of court after submitting that the Chief Passport Officer was not deciding the statutory appeal filed by her under Section 11 of the Passport Act, 1967, against the order of Passport Officer, Srinagar, refusing passport to her.
The High Court on 29 March this year had dismissed the plea of Nazir when she sought a direction for issuance of passport. The court upheld the order of the Regional Passport Officer as valid.
However, the writ court judgment came to be challenged before a Division Bench of the High Court, which asked the petitioner to file a statutory appeal before the Chief Passport Officer, Government of India.
Advocate Jehangir Iqbal representing the petitioner submitted before court that as a sequel of the liberty granted by the court, the petitioner filed an appeal before the CPO and complied with all the requisite formalities.
It was stated by the counsel that despite passage of more than six months, the CPO had not decided the statutory appeal.
He stated that the petitioner again requested the official through an email dated 4 November, 2021, to expeditiously consider the matter.
It was stated before court that in the present case the remedy of appeal as provided under Section 11 of the passport Act had been rendered to be an illusory and futile exercise.
“The conduct displayed by the CPO is indicative of the fact that the appeal filed cannot be decided in a fair and a reasonable manner,” counsel Iqbal said.
The petitioner while challenging the order against the refusal of passport to her prayed that respondents be directed to issue the passport in her favour while also seeking quashment of the order dated 26 March, 2021.
The petitioner also prayed that the action of the respondents be declared as illegal and unconstitutional for not allowing her to travel abroad.
Nazir had applied for passport on 14 December, 2020, but was denied on the grounds that the petitioner is a “threat to the security of the state”.

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