J&K High Court pulls up official for denying passport to Mehbooba Mufti’s mother
The authorities had refused to issue passport to Gulshan Nazir based on a report by the Jammu and Kashmir Police’s Criminal Investigation Department.
The Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh High Court on Saturday reprimanded the authorities for denying a passport to Peoples Democratic Party President Mehbooba Mufti’s mother, Gulshan Nazir, reported PTI.
The passport office had done so based on a report from the Jammu and Kashmir Police’s Criminal Investigation Department. A single-judge bench of Justice MA Chowdhary criticised the passport officer and said that he cannot act “as the mouthpiece of the CID”.
The High Court asked the passport officer to consider the matter afresh and pass orders within six weeks from the date the copy of the order is served, reported PTI. The judgement came hours after Mufti had raised the issue, among other things, in a letter to Chief Justice of India Justice DY Chandrachud on December 31.
Mufti had said the petition against authorities “arbitrarily withholding” Nazir’s passport was filed two years ago but there has been “no decision in sight”.
Passing the order on December 31, the High Court said that the passport officer should have asked the police and the CID whether there is anything adverse in the background of the facts and circumstances against Nazir before denying her passport.
“It appears the passport officer had acted on the forwarding letter of CID, instead of analysing its report in detail,” the court noted. “The report has exhaustively dealt with regard to petitioner’s daughter making references to her ideology and activities, which were termed as risk to the security of India. However, there is no mention with regard to the petitioner in the report.”
The High Court said the police verification report prepared by the CID was with regard to two applications – one by Nazir and the other by her daughter, reported The Indian Express.
“Even, there is not an iota of allegation against the petitioner [Nazir] that may point out to any security concerns,” said the court order, reported PTI. “The police verification report formulated by CID-CIK cannot override the statutory provisions of Section 6 of the Passport Act 1967.”
The section deals with conditions under which a passport can be denied to an individual.
Chowdhary also said that the appellate authority did not examine Nazir’s police verification report and upheld the order passed by passport officer on the wrong premise of security without any foundation.
“When an authority is vested with power, the same is to be exercised judiciously and not arbitrarily as has been done in the instant case,” the court added.