LAHORE: The Lahore High Court (LHC) on Monday sought responses from the federal government, the director general of immigration and passports, and the National Database and Registration Authority (Nadra) in response to a petition challenging a policy of requiring married women to have the name of husband on their CNIC for issue of passports.
Petitioner Barrister Khadija Shah said that the passport office, established at the LHC, arbitrarily rejected her application for passport renewal. The rejection seemed to be based on the fact that her CNIC indicated her father’s name under the “daughter of” column rather than her husband’s name under the “wife of” column.
Ms Shah said she had appropriately updated her marital status with Nadra after her marriage. She said that Nadra allows married women to retain the “name of father” section on their CNICs.
She said the passport office verbally communicated a policy that required married women to possess a CNIC with their husband’s name to obtain a passport in their name.
The petitioner said the respondents’ refusal to accept her passport renewal application was arbitrary and illegal. She said that public authorities are obliged to adhere to legal provisions and cannot impose additional restrictions at their discretion.
She said the passport office’s contested policy was discriminatory and violated articles 8(1) and 25 of the Constitution.
Barrister Shah petitioned the court to declare the alleged policy, which demands that married women include their husband’s name on their CNICs for passport issuance, as invalid, illegal, and in violation of the Constitution.
Following the initial arguments, Justice Raheel Kamran Sheikh issued notices to the respondents, requiring them to submit their responses within two weeks.
Published in Dawn, September 19th, 2023