Anusha Singh 27 October 2021
As per your query it is understood that you need information regarding the passport.
The Hon'ble Supreme Court of India in Suresh Nanda vs. CBI has answered this question in negative and observed that while the police may have the power to seize a passport under Section 102(1) Criminal Procedure Code, 1973, it does not have the power to impound the same. Impounding of a passport can only be done by the passport authority under Section 10(3) of the Passports Act, 1967.
The Hon'ble Supreme Court observed that Sub-section (3) (e) of Section 10 of the Passport Act, 1967 provides for impounding of a passport if proceedings in respect of an offence alleged to have been committed by the holder of the passport or travel document are pending before a criminal court in India. Thus, the Passport Authority has the power to impound the passport under the Passport Act, 1967. Section 102 of Criminal Procedure Code, 1973 gives powers to the police officer to seize any property which may be alleged or suspected to have been stolen or which may be found under circumstances which create suspicion of the commission of any offence. Sub-section (5) of Section 165 of Criminal Procedure Code, 1973 provides that the copies of record made under Sub-section (1) or subsection (3) shall forthwith be sent to the nearest Magistrate empowered to take cognizance to the offence Whereas Section 104 of Criminal Procedure Code, 1973 authorizes the court to impound any document or thing produced before it under the Code. Section 165 of Criminal Procedure Code, 1973 does not speak about the passport which has been searched and seized as in the present case. It does not speak about the documents found in search, but copies of the records prepared under Sub-section (1) and Subsection (3). "Impound" means to keep in custody of the law. There must be some distinct action which will show that documents or things have been impounded. According to the Oxford Dictionary "impound" means to take legal or formal possession.
while the police may have power to seize a passport under Section 102 Cr.P.C. if it is permissible within the authority given under Section 102 of Cr.P.C. it does not have power to retain or impound the same, because that can only be done by the passport authority under Section 10(3) of the Passports Act. Hence, if the police seizes a passport (which it has power to do under Section 102 Cr.P.C.), thereafter the police must send it along with a letter to the passport authority clearly stating that the seized passport deserves to be impounded for one of the reasons mentioned in Section 10(3) of the Act. It is thereafter the passport authority to decide whether to impound the passport or not. Since impounding of a passport has civil consequences, the passport authority must give an opportunity of hearing to the person concerned before impounding his passport.
Please be more specific with your query for precise advice.
Hope it helps!