LOC document has standard proforma which gives identification parameters of criminals (i.e. Photo, passport no, name, father name, address, nationality, etc). More importantly, it contains instructions what immigration authorities should do when accused has been stopped/ detained at airport (i.e. typically call person who has requested for it (DCP/SP) or make the arrest).
Hon’ble Justice S.N.Dhingra of Delhi High Court On Its Own Motion vs State V. Gurnek Singh Etc.
In 2010 for the first time had categorized the categories of cases in which:-
1. The investigating agency can seek recourse of Look- out-Circular and under what circumstances?
2. What procedure is required to be followed by the investigating agency before opening a Look-out-circular?
3. What is the remedy available to the person against whom such Look-out-Circular has been opened?
4. What is the role of the concerned Court when such a case is brought before it and under what circumstances, the subordinate courts can intervene?
The questions are answered as under:
1. Recourse to LOC can be taken by investigating agency in cognizable offences underIPCor other penal laws, where the accused was deliberately evading arrest or not appearing in the trial court despite NBWs and other coercive measures and there was the likelihood of the accused leaving the country to evade trial/arrest.
2. The Investigating Officer shall make a written request for LOC to the officer as notified by the circular of Ministry of Home Affairs, giving details & reasons for seeking LOC. The competent officer alone shall give directions for opening LOC by passing an order in this respect.
3. The person against whom LOC is issued must join investigation by appearing before I.O. or should surrender before the court concerned or should satisfy the court that LOC was wrongly issued against him. He may also approach the officer who ordered the issuance of LOC & explain that LOC was wrongly issued against him. LOC can be withdrawn by the authority that issued and can also be rescinded by the trial court where case is pending or having jurisdiction over concerned police station on an application by the person concerned.
4. LOC is a coercive measure to make a person surrender to the investigating agency or Court of law. The subordinate courts’ jurisdiction in affirming or canceling LOC is commensurate with the jurisdiction of cancellation of NBWs or affirming NBWs.
How can you find out if there was LOC or not?
LOC is a highly confidential document and it is not generally revealed under normal circumstances. They are multiple avenues which one can pursue by different means(ex: RTI). Most of the NRI Men find out LOC has been issued in their name only when they get detained at the airport while entering or while flying out. Below are listed possible places where information can be found.
- Police Station where the complaint is lodged will have information about whether LOC has been issued on accused or not.
- District DSP/SP Office
- CB/CID Office
- Immigration Authorities
- FRRO Office (In case of NRI)
- MHA – Who is responsible for issuing LOC upon request from Police Officials or Magistrate.
How to Remove?
Police: You will have finished the investigation and then request police officials to remove the LOC, which starts at the Level of IO. If it’s still not working then make representations to the originator who would be SP or DSP of that district. One has to be persistent and follow up regularly to get updates whether any action has been taken or not. If not, make further representations to make requests.
Court: Accused can approach court to get it removed as well. They are different levels of court you can approach not necessarily in below order:
- Lower Court/ Trial Court – Filing the petition to remove LOC
- Session Court – Filing the petition to remove LOC
- High Court – Filing the petition under Cr.P.C 482 to remove LOC(Common practice by most NRI’s)
- Supreme Court – Filing the petition to remove LOC (I Sincerely hope no one has to take this step)
When can you travel with LOC issued?
- When Accused has taken explicit permissions from the court to travel abroad (Court generally puts restrictions to notify IO after travel itinerary and make reasonable to huge security deposit)
- When Accused gets court orders from the court stating LOC has been removed.
- When Police Officials gives NOC (No Objection Certificate) to travel.
The author can also be reached at Advocate.firstname.lastname@example.org