Delhi’s Education Minister Atishi Marlena has moved Delhi High Court against concerned ministries of the Central Government for allegedly delaying her travel clearances to the UK. She has been invited in her official capacity by the prestigious Cambridge University to speak at a conference on ‘India at 100: Towards Becoming a Global Leader’ to be held on June 15.
Atishi is a Minister in the Council of Ministers, Government of NCT of Delhi holding portfolio of Education, Public Works Department, Power, Art Culture & Languages, Tourism, Women & Child Development. The plea stated that the respondent authorities are delaying travel clearances to the UK from June 14, 2023, to June 20, 2023. Therefore, urgent directions are required from Court to grant her the requisite clearance.
The petition stated that Atishi is invited in her official capacity by the prestigious Cambridge University on June 15, and thereafter, she has arranged multiple visits to primary schools in the UK as well as meetings with potential Teacher Training partners, to make the most of her visit to the UK and ensure that Delhi’s children gain from best practices in primary school education abroad. The discretion to grant or deny travel clearances to State ministers is exercised by the Union of India. The petitioner received an invitation dated May 10, 2023, from Judge Business School, University of Cambridge to attend and speak at a conference organized by them on June 15, 2023.
“Subsequently, in accordance with the above-mentioned memorandum, the Petitioner applied for relevant clearances. The administrative clearance for Petitioner’s request for travel dated 18.05.2023 was granted by the GNCTD. Thereafter, over a week later, the Lieutenant-Governor approved the proposal on May 26 and forwarded it to the Union of India for requisite clearances,” stated the plea. “Certain queries were raised on May 31 and subsequently on June 5 which were promptly answered to. Without a decision on such clearance, the present Petitioner is unable to apply for a visa permit for her proposed travel. Once the clearances are made, the process of applying and obtaining a visa will itself take some time and the Petitioner apprehends that the delay on account of the respondent Authorities will render the proposal for the official visit entirely infructuous and irreparably prevent the gains that Delhi’s governance and schools could have made from this visit,” the plea read.
The plea further added that the aforesaid official tour is significant for Delhi’s governance – not only will it allow the Delhi Government to showcase the leaps that Delhi has made in education, health, and urban development generally, it will allow Delhi, particularly the children of Delhi, to benefit from learnings from other jurisdictions.