J-K Police opposes Mehbooba”s passport renewal citing ”adverse report”

Srinagar, Mar 25: The Jammu and Kashmir Police has opposed giving passport to former chief minister Mehbooba Mufti citing “adverse report” against her, officials said on Thursday.

A report has been submitted to the Jammu and Kashmir High Court which is hearing a petition filed by Mehbooba over the delay in clearing her passport application.

Mehbooba had applied for a fresh passport in December last year after the previous one expired on May 31, but the application has not been cleared till date in the absence of a police verification report.

The officials said that “an adverse report” has been filed against her by the Criminal Investigation Department (CID), but refused to elaborate saying the matter would be taken up before the high court.

Hearing the petition on March 23, Additional Solicitor General T M Shamsi, representing the Ministry of External Affairs and the Regional Passport office, sought a short adjournment after the counsel representing the Jammu and Kashmir CID informed Justice Ali Mohammed Magrey that the verification report on her passport application had been submitted on March 18.

However, Shamsi informed the court that he had received a communication from the Passport Officer in Srinagar on March 22 and the contents “reveal that the verification of the petitioner is under process and as soon as verification process is completed, the requisite report will be submitted immediately for further course of action”.

“Communication further reveals that CID verification report in respect of the petitioner is still awaited from the JK CID. Copy of communication so produced by Shamsi…is taken on record,” Justice Magrey said while posting the matter for further hearing on March 29.

The counsel for Mehbooba had submitted that the stand taken by the Regional Passport Officer, Srinagar with reference to non-availability of report from the JK CID, has delayed issuance of passport in favour of the petitioner.

In the petition, Mehbooba said her passport expired on May 31 last year and accordingly she applied for issuance of a fresh passport before the authorities concerned on December 11, 2020.

Mehbooba”s counsel submitted that according to instructions issued by the Ministry of External Affairs, the passport of an individual is to be issued within 30 days but in the instant case, despite lapse of three months, passport has not been issued to the petitioner due to the pending police verification.

The 61-year-old politician was put under preventive custody on August 5, 2019, the day the central government revoked the special status of Jammu and Kashmir under Article 370 and bifurcated the erstwhile state into union territories.

She was released in October last year after the Union Territory administration revoked the charges under the Public Safety Act against her. PTI