Courts Update Passport authority cannot refuse renewal on the pendency of...

Passport authority cannot refuse renewal on the pendency of the appeal in court against passport holder: Supreme Court

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New Delhi Sept 27(ILNS): The Supreme Court while hearing a plea filed by a man convicted under Section 471 r/w Sections 465, 120, and 420 of Indian Penal Code has held that the Passport Authority cannot refuse the renewal of the passport on the ground of the pendency of the appeal.

The bench comprised of Justice L. Nageswara Rao and Justice B.R. Gavai has heard the applicant whose passport has been seized on account of the appeal pending against him in the Court.

Jayant K Sood, ASGI has submitted before the Court that the applicant has first to take permission from the concerned Court and then only the passport can be issued to him.

Advocate Ambhoj Kumar Sinha has countered the argument raised by Mr. Sood that there is no such provision to take permission from the Court though we have already given an application to the authority regarding the same.

The Court after going through all the facts presented and arguments made has observed that there is no such provision that the passport cannot be renewed if the appeal has been pending against any convicted person.

The Court has further held that applicant has to take permission to go abroad only not for the renewal of the passport. 

On the last date of hearing the Supreme Court had issued notice to the Central Bureau of Investigation to file the counter affidavit after hearing the applicant and provided 2 weeks time to Mr. Jayanat Kumar to seek instructions.

Mr Ambhoj kumar Sinha has submitted before the Court that under the provisions of Passport Act, 1967 renewal of Passport can only be refused in the circumstances mentioned under section 6 of the Passport act. 

According to Clause (e) and (f) of sub Section 2 of Section 6 of the Passport Act the Passport Authority shall refuse to issue a passport or travel document for visiting any foreign country on any one or more of the following grounds, and on no other ground, namely: – 

(e) that the applicant has, at any time during the period of five years immediately preceding the date of his application, been convicted by a court in India for any offence involving moral turpitude and sentenced in respect thereof to imprisonment for not less than two years;

(f) that proceedings in respect of an offence alleged to have been committed by the applicant are pending before a criminal court in India;

Petitioner has argued before the Court that it is evident from the provisions that it is clearly not applicable in the petitioners’ case as according to the provision the sentence must be of 2 years and in the present case though petitioner was sentenced for two years which was reduced to 1 year by high court. 

On the point of pendency of the case before the criminal court petitioner has argued that it is a matter of interpretation that does “criminal court” includes appellate court as well?

On this point Court is of view that there is a difference between pendency of case before the trail court and appellate court.

Petitioner has further submitted before the Court that petitioner is going through a mental suffering of losing his only son in this pandemic and wants to visit his daughters’ one living on USA and another in Britain for emotional support.

In fact, present Applicant along with 4 others is convicted for various offenses punishable under the different provisions of IPC as well as PC act 1988. M/s  Tricon Hotel Private ltd. applied for term loan for construction and running a three-star hotel. Loan was sanctioned of 69.75 lakhs. During the investigation, it was found out that the Tricon Hotel was not entitled to a subsidy. However, Some of the payments made in the name of the firm were misappropriated by the present applicant and 4 others, even false vouchers were obtained from a firm. He submitted a false report thereby facilitating the other accused to receive the loan. The loan in charge released the loan without verifying the terms and conditions of the sanction letter. The amount was withdrawn by a co-accused Dhiresh Kumar Chakraborty. Another co-accused Aparesh Das Purkayastha issued a false certificate in the name of the company. All the accused entered into a conspiracy to make a loss to the public exchequer of Rs. 57,04,700.

The High court of Meghalaya held that the appeal has no merit. However, considering the age of the accused and also their behavior during the pendency of the trial the term sentence of two years was reduced to one year./ILNS/KR/SNG

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