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Atishi moves Delhi HC asking it to direct Centre to grant clearance for her UK visit | Delhi News

NEW DELHI: On Tuesday, Atishi, the education minister of Delhi, filed a petition in the high court of Delhi. She requested the court to direct the Central government to make a decision regarding the necessary clearances required for her official visit to the United Kingdom (UK) next week. The petition states that Atishi, in her official capacity, has received an invitation from Cambridge University to speak at a conference titled ‘India at 100: Towards Becoming a Global Leader.’ The conference is scheduled to take place on June 15. The hearing for the petition is expected to occur on Wednesday. The proposed visit, Atishi’s petition said, is significant for Delhi’s governance as it will allow the city government to “showcase the leaps” made in areas of education, health, and urban development. Any further delay in granting clearance to the visit would render the purpose infructuous, it said. The petition – filed through lawyers Hrishika Jain, Aman Naqvi and Bharat Gupta – has argued that restricting the petitioner’s right to travel abroad on a discretionary basis impinges on her personal liberty. It also contended that requiring constitutional functionaries and ministers in state government to seek the Centre’s “political clearance” for travelling abroad violates the dignity and independence of a constitutional office. The plea stated while the Delhi government accorded administrative clearance for travel last month, the central government “has only been responding” with queries and clarification after the Lieutenant-Governor forwarded the proposal to it, thus delaying the whole process, including applying for a visa. “The proposal was forwarded to the central government authorities for processing of further clearance. It has been more than 10 days now, and no clearance has yet been issued to her. “In the present matter, the respondents’ non-decision on the matter till 06.06.2023, has left only eight days for all further formalities and visa approval, serving in effect as an arbitrary non-decision of the proposed visit,” the plea said. The petition claimed that the petitioner has arranged multiple visits to primary schools in the UK to “ensure that Delhi’s children gain from best practices in primary school education abroad” and that the trip would be “crucial for a for exchanging ideas on improving urban governance and showcasing Delhi’s own progress in urban design”. It further contended that delay in granting travel clearances violates the right to privacy.