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BACKGROUND OF THE CASE

  • The petitioners, senior-citizen couples, have been allegedly detained in the Indira Gandhi International Airport since the morning of 23 August.
  • They have been denied access to food, water or medicines.
  • After the couple beseeched and begged the authorities, they were allowed to use the rest rooms.
  • This was regarding a 2016 case. A LOC was issued against the petitioner- NRI couple in connection with FIR No. 685/2016, which was registered in 2016 in a pending investigation with the Economic Offences Wing (EOW), Section-VI, New Delhi under Section(s) 406/420/120B of the Indian Penal Code, 1860.
  • Under the said offences, the couple, who had been living in United Kingdom for several years now and are alleged as accused in the FIR, have allegations of being involved in a criminal conspiracy.

FIR FILED

  • In the FIR, the complaint was made by Mr Rajesh Sabhrawal.
  • An agreement was made between him and M/s. Rajasavi Estate & Developers Pvt. Ltd. & Ors.
  • But the developers had failed to abide by the conditions set by them.
  • Therefore, in the complaint, it was alleged that the petitioners had also initially entered into a Collaboration Agreement with the same developers, but that had fallen through on violations of the terms.

ARGUMENTS BY THE ADVOCATES

  • Advocate Chetan Lokur and Nitish Chaudhary approached the Court through the Registrar (Listing) and asked to quash and set aside the LOC.
  • They argued that the petitioners cannot be faulted for the said Agreement to Sell entered into not fructifying after the collaboration agreement has been cancelled.
  • Mr Lokur also referred to the replies submitted by the petitioners on the recent notices issued by the investigating officer and informed the Court that the petitioners have shown complete cooperation.
  • He contended that the issuance of LOC and the subsequent detention of the couple is 'high-handedness of the police’ and 'is gross misuse and abuse of the process of law'.
  • Denying them access to basic amenities at the airport also infringed their fundamental rights.

OBSERVATIONS MADE BY THE COURT

  • The Delhi High Court ordered the immediate release of the NRI senior citizen couple in pursuance of a Look Out Circular [LOC] issued in an FIR registered five years ago.
  • Justice Rekha Palli directed the couple not to leave the country without getting prior permission of the Court.
  • Justice Palli also directed the respondent not to take any coercive steps against the petitioners.
  • Notices have been issued by the court.
  • The matter has been listed to be heard next on 18 October, 2021.

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