Begin typing your search above and press return to search.
News Updates

Pendency Of Criminal Case Against A Passport Holder Will Not Automatically Result In Impounding Of The Passport: Allahabad HC [Read Judgment]

AKSHITA SAXENA
3 Sep 2019 2:34 PM GMT
Pendency Of Criminal Case Against A Passport Holder Will Not Automatically Result In Impounding Of The Passport: Allahabad HC [Read Judgment]
x

The Allahabad High Court has held that mere pendency of a criminal case is not a valid reason for impounding a person's passport. Background The Petitioner, Neera Chandra, through Advocate Nipun Singh, had challenged the order passed by the Respondent, Regional Passport Officer of Ghaziabad where under her passport was impounded and a penalty was imposed. The Respondent justified the order...

The Allahabad High Court has held that mere pendency of a criminal case is not a valid reason for impounding a person's passport.

Background

The Petitioner, Neera Chandra, through Advocate Nipun Singh, had challenged the order passed by the Respondent, Regional Passport Officer of Ghaziabad where under her passport was impounded and a penalty was imposed. The Respondent justified the order of impoundment on grounds of concealment of pendency of a criminal case against her, by the Petitioner.

The Petitioner submitted that the order of impoundment was arbitrary and illegal in as much as it was passed despite her completing all the formalities as were required by the Regional Passport Office.

Govt. Advocate, Aradhna Chauhan on the other hand submitted that a Regional Passport Officer was empowered to impound/revoke passport under Section 10 of the Passport Act, 1967 and that the grounds thereof had been mentioned in Section 10(3) of the Act.

Findings

Assessing the facts of the case captioned "Neera Chandra v. Union of India & Ors.", the bench of Justice Shashi Kant Gupta and Justice Umesh Kumar said that the criminal case taken note by the Passport Authority was of minor nature under Sections 177 and 188 of I.P.C. and as such "non disclosure of pendency of criminal case could not be taken as a material suppression of facts for impounding the passport of the petitioner". The Respondent officer was thus directed re-consider his decision of impounding the Petitioner's passport, without taking note of the pendency of a criminal case.

Reliance was placed on Menaka Gandhi v. Union of India, 1978(1) SCC 248, to assert that if the reasons given for impounding the passport were extraneous or did not have a nexus with the ground on which the passport was impounded, the order of impoundment could be struck down by the court.

The bench observed, "there is no doubt about the discretion vested with the Authority in terms of the provisions of Section 10 of the Act, but that is not at all mandatory to impound or caused to be impounded the passport or any travel document if proceedings in respect of offence merely alleged to have been committed by the holder of the passport pending in the Court. The pendency of criminal offence against the holder of the passport would not automatically result in impounding of the passport".

Directions were also issued to the concerned subordinate court to decide the criminal case pending against the Petitioner as expeditiously as possible, preferably within a period of 6 months. 

Click Here To Download Judgment

[Read Judgment]

Next Story