Right To Travel Should Be Curtailed Only In Exceptional Circumstances, Pendency Of Appeal Where Sentence Is Suspended Not A Ground: Delhi High Court
Observing that the right to travel is a valuable fundamental right, the Delhi High Court has said that pendency of an appeal when sentence has been suspended cannot be an “exceptional circumstance” under which such right can be curtailed.
Justice Jasmeet Singh allowed one Nitya Nand Gautam, a convict in a case registered under Prevention of Corruption Act, to travel to Dubai for one month to meet his daughter from February 15 to March 15.
“According to me, the right to travel is a valuable fundamental right and should be curtailed only in exceptional circumstances. Pendency of an appeal where the sentence has been suspended does not come within the purview of an exceptional circumstance,” the court said.
Gautam was convicted by trial court in October 2020 under sections 409, 420 and 120B of Indian Penal Code and sections 13 (1)(c) and (d) of Prevention of Corruption Act. He was sentenced to undergo rigorous imprisonment for a period of three years with fine of Rs. 1 lakh.
After deposition of the fine, his sentence was suspended during pendency of the appeal.
Gautam recently moved an application seeking to travel abroad for one month after his daughter wrote an email on December 9, 2022, requesting him to visit her in Dubai.
The status report filed by Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) stated that there were no documents supporting Gautam’s application except the email.
The court found the explanation of Gautam’s counsel satisfactory that he was waiting for an order from court before booking his tickets or applying for VISA.
The court allowed the application subject to Gautam furnishing a personal bond with a surety bond in the sum of Rs. 1 lakh each, adding that he shall provide his mobile number to the Investigating Officer (IO) which shall be kept in working condition at all times.
It also directed him to not switch off or change the phone without prior intimation to the IO, and furnish his address where he would be residing in Dubai.
“The appellant shall not indulge in any act or omission that is unlawful or that would prejudice the proceedings in pending cases, if any,” the court said.
Title: NITYA NAND GAUTAM v. CENTRAL BEREAU OF INVESTIGATION
Citation: 2023 LiveLaw (Del) 118