New Delhi: The Delhi High Court on Friday asked the passport authority to decide within three months on issuing a new travel document to PDP chief Mehbooba Mufti.

Justice Pratibha M Singh stated that the issue has been pending for two years and following an appeal against the rejection, it has now been sent to the concerned passport authority 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 Mufti’s plea seeking direction to the authorities to take an early decision on her appeal regarding the issue of a new passport. The former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister said that despite reminders in her petition, there was a long delay in issuing her a new passport. She said that no decision is being taken on her appeal.

The counsel for the Central Government informed the court that an order on the appeal was passed on March 2 and the matter has been sent to the Passport Officer in J&K for fresh consideration. Given the Centre’s stand, the court observed, the petition was infructuous, and no further orders were required.

Last month, Ms. Mufti sought the intervention of External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar for the issuance of a 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 said that the renewal of her passport was pending after the J&K CID had reported that issuing travel documents to her would 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 applied for a new passport on December 11 next year.

By Archana

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