Parvez Noordin Lokhandwalla vs State Of Maharashtra

Parvez Noordin Lokhandwalla vs State Of Maharashtra

JUDGEMENT DATE: October 01, 2020

CITATION: Criminal Appeal No. 648 of 2020

JUDGES: Dr. Dhananjaya Y Chandrachud

INTRODUCTION

This is one of the famous cases( Parvez Noordin Lokhandwalla case) which ascertains the question of liberty which should be granted to the accused. As absurd as this may sound but as the dynamic laws of this country are formed, there have been rights to every individual of this country, even the accused itself, no matter the viscosity of the crime. In this case of January 2014, the appellant was accused of forging the signature of his brother to fabricate a Power of Attorney, followed by a thorough investigation by the concerned authorities. The FIR had stated that the appellant was booked on Sections 420, 467, 468, 469, 470, 471, and 474 of IPC.

 

Further details of Parvez Noordin Lokhandwalla case

Since the appellant was a Green Card holder, due to several regulations it was required for him to return to the US after a stipulated time. The appellant had applied for the grant of anticipatory bail before the Sessions Court Thane, which granted interim protection from arrest to the accused. However, the interim order was canceled as the counsel representing the appellant withdrew the application on his behalf.

It was stated that the appellant had been residing in the US since 1985 and had frequently visited India on several occasions, moreover, he was arrested on the point of departure from Mumbai in pursuance of a lookout notice which was initiated after the filing of the FIR.

# Parvez Noordin Lokhandwalla case

On 19 May 2020, a temporary bail was granted to the accused after ascertaining some basic grundnorm for imposing reasonable restrictions on the accused. The following were the restriction as stated in the original order:

“a) The applicant is released on temporary bail for a period of eight weeks in C.R. No.I-156 of 2014 registered with Kapurbavadi BB Police Station, Thane on his furnishing P.R. Bond of Rs.25,000/- with one or more sureties to make up the amount.

  1. b) Till the procedure for furnishing sureties is completed, the applicant is permitted to furnish cash bail.
  2. c) Before his actual release from jail, the Applicant is directed to surrender his Passport and/or Green Card issued by the United States of America with the Investigating Agency, if not earlier seized by it or other Government Authorities.
  3. d) After his release from jail, the applicant is directed not to leave the jurisdiction of the Thane Police Commissionerate without prior permission of the trial Court.
  4. e) Place the Application for regular bail before the regular Court after normal functioning of the Court begins.”

 Also Read: AK GOPALAN vs STATE OF MADRAS

The appellant( Parvez Noordin Lokhandwalla) later applied for an Interlocutory Appeal in the court asking for permission to visit the US for a period of not less than eight weeks, but the permission was declined and the appellant moved the Court by raising an interesting issue “the fundamental right to travel abroad and its curtailment under a judicial order as an incident to regulate conditions governing the grant of bail”.

The appellant(Parvez Noordin Lokhandwalla) vividly stated that he had no intention to evade the due procedure of law and would be present before any subsequent proceedings, as a fitting response, the respondent-state stated how the appellant had earlier left for the US without seeking any permission and returned to the country on several occasions where he was arrested, while the appellant was granted interim bail for eight weeks but did not surrender even after the period was over.

Mr. Subhash Jha, the counsel appearing on behalf of the appellant stated some pointers which could enhance the intention behind the appellant’s motive towards the proceedings of this case:

  • The appellant has been a citizen of the US since 1985 and hasn’t disregarded any provision of the law in the concerned country.
  • The appellant and his family had been subjected to drawn-out litigation which was of both civil and criminal nature.
  • Has traveled to India on several occasions and that mere filing of a private FIR should not subject the person to be charged with his prestigious Green Card.

The case of Dataram Singh Vs. State of Uttar Pradesh was referred to as a precedent, which correctly stated “The grant or refusal of bail is entirely within the discretion of the judge hearing the matter and though that discretion is unfettered, it must be exercised judiciously and in a humane manner and compassionately. Also, conditions for the grant of bail ought not to be so strict as to be incapable of compliance, thereby making the grant of bail illusory.

A similar situation was also seen in Satish Chandra IPS Vs Union of India, the appellant was an IPS working as Inspector General of Police in Tamil Nadu. After a series of strenuous proceedings, the Chennai Bench denied his permission of foreign visit for a period of not less than one month. Further, the appellant had challenged this order and was vividly stating that he wasn’t involved in any of the Criminal Cases and that too in the extent of his present scenario, he further ascertained that the departmental inquiries are still pending against him, the cornerstone of which was challenged by his counsel in the Tribunal and those cases are pending as well.

Though it was also stated that the High Court had primitively accepted Parvez Noordin Lokhandwalla’s appeal for such departure and that 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.

Even though it is a known fact that one’s right to travel abroad is a fundamental right but does this apply to the people who are accused of such heinous crimes? Can the Constitution of India dynamic enough to trust such individuals?

Also Check out: Shreya Singhal vs. Union of India

The judgment of Parvez Noordin Lokhandwalla case

The court believed that “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, based on 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 traveling 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.”

-Sashwat Gupta

(Writer, The Legal State)

Original Judgement: Parvez Noordin Lokhandwalla vs State Of Maharashtra

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