New Delhi: The Delhi High Court on Friday asked the passport authority to take a decision within three months on issuing a fresh travel document to PDP chief Mehbooba Mufti.
Justice Prathiba M Singh noted the issue has been pending for two years and, following an appeal against the rejection, it has now been remanded to the passport officer concerned for reconsideration.
“Considering that the matter is remanded back to the passport officer and the initial rejection was two years ago, let the passport officer concerned take a decision expeditiously and in any case within three months,” ordered the judge.
The court’s order came on a petition by Mufti seeking a direction to the authorities to take an early decision on her appeal regarding the issuance of a new passport.
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The former Jammu & Kashmir chief minister said in her plea there was considerable delay in issuing a new passport to her despite reminders. She said no decision was being taken on her appeal.
The central government counsel informed the court that an order was passed on the appeal on March 2 and the matter has been sent to the passport officer in Jammu & Kashmir for fresh reconsideration.
In view of the Centre’s stand, the court observed, the petition was infructuous and no further orders were required.
Last month, Mufti had sought the intervention of External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar for the issuance of passport, saying she has been waiting for it for the past three years to take her 80-year-old mother on a pilgrimage to Mecca.
In a letter to the minister, she had said the renewal of her passport was pending after the Jammu and Kashmir CID gave a report that issuing the travel document to her will undermine national security.
In March 2021, Mehbooba and her mother were denied passports after the Jammu and Kashmir Police cited an ”adverse report”.
Mehbooba’s passport expired on May 31, 2019, and she had applied for a fresh passport on December 11 the next year.