HC asks Mehbooba Mufti appeal before appropriate authority for passport


Jammu: Jammu and Kashmir High Court here on Friday asked the former Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti to approach the appropriate authority for remedy available under the scheme for passport.

Disposing of her appeal against the decision of the single bench who had dismissed her petition seeking court’s direction to the passport authority to issue her the document, a division bench comprising Justice Tashi Rabstan and Justice Javed Iqbal Wani after hearing her counsel, senior advocate Jehangir Iqbal Ganai, disposed of the appeal by providing appellant the liberty to approach appropriate authority to avail the proper remedy available to her under the scheme.

It further observed that “on receipt of appeal from her, the authority concerned shall consider and decide it on merit, strictly under rules, regulations and the provisions of the Act, that too un-influenced by the observations made in the impugned judgment dated March 29 last’’. “Needless to state that this court has not expressed any opinion on the merits of the case,’’ the bench cleared.

A single bench of the court headed by Justice Ali Mohammad Magray had on Monday dismissed Mehbooba Mufti’s petition, saying that her application for a passport was rejected by the Passport Officer, Srinagar, as police in its verification report had recommended against its issuance to her.

“In such circumstances, I am of the considered view that no direction can be issued by this court for issuance of passport in favour of the petitioner. Even otherwise, the scope of this court in the matter of grant or otherwise of passport in favour of an individual is very limited in as much as the court, in this behalf, can only direct the concerned authorities to expeditiously consider the case of an individual in the light of the mandate of the scheme of law governing the subject,” the bench had held.

Declining to interfere with the course of action adopted by the respondents in the case, it had, however, observed that dismissal of the writ petition shall not come in the way of the petitioner for availing the remedy as may be available to her in accordance with the law.

Earlier, in a letter to Mehbooba Mufti on March 26, the Regional Passport Office, Srinagar, had informed her that her application for a passport was rejected on the basis of the “adverse” police verification report. Also informing her that the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) of the Union Territory had recommended against granting a passport to her, the Passport Officer in the letter had told her that she can appeal against the decision at a higher forum provided by the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA).