Srinagar: PDP president and former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Mehbooba Mufti has been issued a passport after three years, sources said here on Sunday. The passport given to Mehbooba, is valid for 10 years from June 1, 2023, till May 31, 2033. The passport was given to Mehbooba following a prolonged legal battle in the Delhi High Court.
Her passport expired on May 31, 2019, and since then she had been seeking its renewal. It came barely two days ahead of a hearing in Jammu and Kashmir High Court where Menbooba's daughter Iltija's plea challenging the decision of the passport office to give her a country-specific passport is to come up.
Delhi HC ultimatum to passport authority
The Delhi High Court in March this year had asked the passport authority to decide within three months on issuing a fresh travel document to the PDP chief. "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," Justice Prathiba M Singh had noted in the order in March this year.
The court's order had come on a petition by Mehbooba seeking a direction to the passport authorities to take an early decision on her appeal regarding the issuance of a new passport. The former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister said in her plea that there was a considerable delay in issuing a new passport to her despite reminders. She said no decision was being taken on her appeal.
The Central government's counsel had 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 and Kashmir for reconsideration.
Mehbooba sought EAM Jaishankar’s intervention
In February this year, Mehbooba had sought the intervention of External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar for the issuance of the passport, saying she had been waiting for it for the past three years to take her 80-year-old mother on a pilgrimage to Mecca. In March 2021, Mehbooba Mufti and her mother were refused passports after the Jammu and Kashmir Police cited an "adverse report". Her mother had applied for a passport in 2020 to undertake a pilgrimage to Mecca in Saudi Arabia.
In a letter dated February 20, the former CM flagged that their passport could not be issued in the last three years owing to an "adverse" report by Jammu and Kashmir CID. Mufti said she even reached the J-K High Court but her case has been "dragged on for three years".
(With PTI inputs)