HC irked over Centre's failure in hearing Rithambara
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The Delhi High Court today took strong exception to non-compliance of its order to the Centre to accord personal hearing to VHP leader Sadhvi Rithambara's plea for renewal of her passport for ten years instead of one year as she frequently visits abroad.
"What notice? ...I should issue a contempt notice to you (Ministry of External Affairs)," Justice Rajiv Shakdher said.
The court issued a show cause notice to the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) and others including Regional Passport Office and asked a senior official to "remain present" on November 21 before it if its previous order is not complied with by then.
Justice Shakdher had asked the MEA earlier to accord personal hearing to the VHP leader's plea that she be issued a passport for a period of ten years instead of one year as she frequently visits abroad for giving religious discourses.
Disposing of the plea, the court had earlier said her petition be treated as a representation and a reasoned order be passed within four weeks.
Rithambara today moved a fresh application for revival of her petition saying so far, she has neither been accorded a personal hearing nor a reasoned order was passed on her representation. The plea for revival was allowed.
The VHP leader, facing trial along with others including veteran BJP leader L K Advani in the Babri mosque demolition case, had argued that the Passport Act provides that a person would be issued it for a period of ten years and later, it can be renewed or extended for the same period.
However, the Regional Passport Office, which initially issued the passport in 1991 to her for ten years, extended it by one year only on August 3, 2009 and in May 2012.
The MEA justified its the decision saying it was done due to her involvement in the criminal case.
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