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HC dismisses fugitive’s plea for passport renewal: ‘Can misuse it to evade law’

The counsel for government said that the petitioner can only be issued an emergency certificate under the Passports Act to enable him to travel to India.

Written by Jagpreet Singh Sandhu | Chandigarh |
January 12, 2022 7:45:54 am
The bench of Justice Sudhir Mittal said that a fugitive from the law cannot be permitted to take advantage of the lacuna in a statute to get a passport which may be utilised to evade the law. (Representational)

The Punjab and Haryana High Court has dismissed the plea of an accused in an attempt to murder and rioting case who is seeking renewal of his passport which was refused to him.

The bench of Justice Sudhir Mittal said that a fugitive from the law cannot be permitted to take advantage of the lacuna in a statute to get a passport which may be utilised to evade the law. The petitioner has now filed an appeal against the order of the single Bench. As per the case, the petitioner, who is a citizen of India, is currently residing in France.

A passport was issued to him on July 12, 2018 which expired on July 11, 2020. He applied for re-issuance on August 6, 2020.

However, on July 2, 2021, he received a text message from the office of passport authorities of India that a case of attempt to murder and rioting is pending against him.

The petitioner sought interim passport to come to India and face trail.

The counsel for petitioner argued that in the first instance the petitioner travelled to Spain in the year 2008. Since then, he has not returned to India. He was made an accused in absentia and challan was also presented in absentia. Thus, no notice was ever served.

The counsel for government said that the petitioner can only be issued an emergency certificate under the Passports Act to enable him to travel to India.

“Refusal of passport cannot be said to be illegal…Instead of returning to India, he may travel to some other country or may continue to reside in France…Ordinarily, there would be no hitch in issuance of a fresh passport provided no criminal trial is pending and no warrants have been issued against him. However, where the situation is as in the present case, a fugitive from the law cannot be permitted to take advantage of the lacuna in a statute to get a passport which may be utilized to evade the law,” said Justice Sudhir Mittal.

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