Allowing the prerogative of the travel court: A Special Court orders the return of a passport to a public employee accused of corruption.

Allowing the prerogative of the travel court: A Special Court orders the return of a passport to a public employee accused of corruption.

Allowing the prerogative of the travel court: A Special Court orders the return of a passport to a public employee accused of corruption.

A Special Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) Court recently granted a Central government employee’s request for the release of his passport, holding that the petitioner had the same right to the travel document as any other citizen [CBI v. Anand Joshi].

Special CBI Judge Vishal Gogne  “favorably inclined” to the public servant’s plea on; corruption and criminal conspiracy allegations, and he released the passport after stressing that; he might still be barred from travelling overseas with the consent of the Court.

“The applicant, like any other citizen, has the right to a passport, to renew it, and to use it for travel.” Such rights can be limited by a court order if the accused is on trial and there is a need to regulate either the ownership of the passport or its use for travel,” according to the order.

The applicant’s lawyer said that;  as a public servant who  reinstated to government duty at; the Union Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation, his client will be; obliged to travel internationally in the future.

The petitioner granted bail in the case against him on June 7, 2016, and the investigating agency, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), filed a closure report shortly afterwards. As a result, the lawyer contended that retaining his client’s passport in the custody of the investigating officer was pointless.

In this case, the CBI used Section 120B of the Indian Penal Code (penalty of criminal conspiracy) in conjunction with; Sections 13(2) and 13(1)(d) of the Prevention of Corruption Act.

The CBI’s public prosecutor objected to the plea, claiming that; the applicant’s passport lodged with the agency on the Court’s orders, and that it should remain in the custody of the Investigation Officer (IO).

The CBI stated that; the Court ordered additional investigation following the closure report, adding that; the applicant  exonerated in the matter.

After reviewing the submissions, the Court concluded that; just depositing the passport with the IO did not guarantee the accused’s appearance before the IO or in court.

“Rather, it is the directions/restrictions on travel abroad that ensure that an applicant does not leave the country without the Court’s permission,” the Court stated.

The IO’s custody of the passport  described; as a “unnecessary limitation on the applicant’s allied rights,” which included the ability to renew passports as needed..

The applicant represented by Manoj Kumar, while the CBI  represented by Ramneek Jawa.

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