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KEY TAKEAWAYS

  • Should such a right be treated as a fundamental right?
  • Does such liberty apply to the people who are accused of various heinous crimes?
  • Are the laws dynamic enough to be ascertaining such a freedom?
  • Various cases describing the importance of such a fundamental right

INTRODUCTION

Right to travel abroad is a right which is a cornerstone for an individual's personal liberty, which is guaranteed under the Constitution of India. But what if a person accused of a crime wishes to practice this "liberty"? There have been many instances where a person was trusted with a certain set of authorities which results the government with certain unwanted set of results. Though it is a fact that there should be rights to every individual, but there should be a reasonable restriction imposed on such freedom.

GOING INTO DETAILS

There were a number of cases which could act as reasonable precedents to the topic in hand. Though they could be vastly different in nature but the point being pertained that should the accused be given to such freedom?

BARUN CHANDRA THAKUR VERSUS RYAN AUGUSTINE PINO

The accused was alleged to have been booked for several charges which includes Section 302 of IPC, Section 25 of the Arms Act, Section 12 of POCSO Act and many more. The case was duly investigated by CBI and after further consequent decisions, the accused was given an interim bail after certain statutory terms and conditions, which included a restriction on travelling abroad. An application was filed with the knowledge of removing this restriction, as the respondent was to travel abroad for not more than three weeks, yet the application was permitted to be withdrawn. Another application was filed which vividly stated the incomprehensible nature of allegations imposed in him and how CBI didn't find any incriminating evidence against him in the above-mentioned case. After certain arguments the respondent was given the liberty to travel abroad without the need of informing any authority of any sort. But a petition was filed, challenging this order, where the petitioner stated the seriousness of the crimes should be taken in consideration and that such freedom is improper in the present course of action, it can be said that reasonable restrictions could have been adopted and not the deletion of the conditions altogether. Therefore, the previous order was imposed and the present one was scrapped off. The Court concluded the case by saying 'It goes without saying that such orders shall be made after considering the view of the CBI and taking note of relevant factors, and at the same time, ensuring that reasonable period before undertaking the travel is also given'.

Read the original order here .

• IN PARVEZ NOORDIN LOKHANDWALLA VS. STATE OF MAHARASHTRA

The Appellant was alleged to have fabricated a Power of Attorney by forging a signature of his brother. He had sought for an interim bail which was granted and later scrapped off by the appellant's counsel. The Appellant was an Indian Citizen with a Green Card, through which he could reside outside the country as well, however, High Court declined his request to leave the country for a period of not more than eight weeks. Even though it was stated by the Appellant that due to certain rules and regulations, he was supposed to return to US and would be duly present whenever the Court holds any proceedings in the future. Moreover, it was vividly stated by him that he had no intention to evade the due process of law. The respondent-state stated that on several occasions the appellant had left for US and had been improper after the furnishing of the anticipatory bail, even after the period of eight weeks, he ought to have, but has not, surrendered after the period was over. After referring to the case of Dataram Singh v State of Uttar Pradesh, the Court concluded the case by saying 'Having regard to the genesis of the dispute as well as the issue as to whether the appellant is likely to flee from justice if he were to be permitted to travel to the US, we find, on the basis of the previous record of the appellant, that there is no reason or justification to deny him the permission which has been sought to travel to the US for eight weeks. The appellant is an Indian citizen and holds an Indian passport. While it is true that an FIR has been lodged against the appellant, that, in our view, should not in itself prevent him from travelling to the US, where he is a resident since 1985, particularly when it has been drawn to the attention of the High Court and this Court that serious consequences would ensue in terms of the invalidation of the Green Card if the appellant were not permitted to travel. On the return of the appellant after eight weeks and if it becomes necessary for him to travel to the US, the appellant shall apply to the concerned court for permission to travel and any such application shall be considered on its own merits by the competent court. The appellant shall travel only upon the grant of permission and subject to the terms imposed. The passport of the appellant shall be handed over to the appellant to facilitate his travel, subject to the condition that he shall deposit it with the investigating officer immediately on his return'

Read the original order here.

• SATISH CHANDRA VERMA IPS VS UNION OF INDIA

In this case, the appellant was an IPS working as Inspector General of Police in Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu, it has been noted that the Chennai Bench denied his permission for a foreign visit for a period of almost one month. The appellant had challenged this order and was clearly stating that he wasn't involved in any Criminal Cases whatsoever, he further ascertained that the departmental enquiries are still pending against him, the initiation of which was challenged by him in the Tribunal and those cases are pending as well, though it was also stated that the High Court had previously allowed him to for such departure and on the date of any legal proceedings, he was always present before the stipulated time. The Court was of the view that such restriction is an assailant on the fundamental right of an individual and that there was no reasonable cornerstone to forfeit that right. Henceforth, the appellant was allowed to travel abroad until the next hearing was to be commenced.

It is a known fact that Right to Travel abroad is a fundamental right as well as an integral part of one's personal liberty for as correctly stated in the case of Mrs. Maneka Gandhi Vs. Union of India (1978) Freedom to go abroad has much social value and represents the basic human right of great significance.'.

CONCLUSION

Right to travel abroad on bail is an important basic human right and it nurtures the basic commonality of one's self-determining characteristics not just this but also it extends to freedom of action and life, basic humanities that could have been affected if such a right is forfeited. But as every fundamental right, this too should be imposed with certain restrictions pertaining to the nature of crimes a person is accused of.


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Category Constitutional Law, Other Articles by - Sunidhi Singh 



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