Delhi’s education minister, Atishi, has filed a petition in the Delhi High Court to request that the Centre grants her clearance to visit the United Kingdom for an official visit next week. Atishi has been invited by Cambridge University to speak at a conference on ‘India at 100: Towards Becoming a Global Leader.’ The visit is significant for Delhi’s governance as it will allow the city government to showcase its progress in education, health, and urban development. Atishi argues that any further delay in granting clearance would render the purpose of the visit useless.
Atishi’s lawyers argue that restricting her right to travel abroad impinges on her personal liberty. They also contend that requiring constitutional functionaries and ministers in state government to seek Centre’s political clearance for travelling abroad violates the dignity and independence of a constitutional office. Although the Delhi government has accorded administrative clearance for travel, 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 petition claims that Atishi 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. The trip would be crucial for exchanging ideas on improving urban governance and showcasing Delhi’s own progress in urban design. The delay in granting travel clearances violates the right to privacy. The petition is likely to come up for hearing in the Delhi High Court on Wednesday.