JUSTICE BISWANATH RATH

Asutosh Amrit Patnaik v. State of Orissa & Ors.

Case Number: WP(C) No. 4834 of 2022

Date of Decision: 23rd March 2022

In this case, the Petitioner had challenged the communication order by the Opposite Party No.2, Regional Passport Officer, Bhubaneswar wherein the request of the Petitioner on the issue of renewal of passport was declined due to pendency of at least two criminal cases against him. The Petitioner was working in a firm in the UAE on the basis of visa granted by the competent authority. Since, the visa was set to expire on 17th May 2022, the Petitioner had made an application for renewal of the passport to get Visa continuity in order to continue his service in the overseas oilfields. It was contended by the Petitioner that that mere pendency of criminal proceedings initiated at the instance of his wife should not have been a ground to decline the renewal application.

On the other hand, the Opposite Party contended that the Petitioner’s attempt is to leave the country and due to the pendency of criminal proceedings against him, it is difficult to grant the renewal of passport as the Petitioner might not be available with the competent authority in the event the criminal proceedings result in conviction.

This Court held that while considering the Petitioner’s request for renewal of passport, there was no right appreciation of the matter. The Court observed that the Section 6 (2) (f) of the Passports Act, 1967 read together with the GSR 570 (E) dated 25th August, 1993 would come to the rescue of the petitioner as there was mechanical disposal of application.

Rajesh Kumar Agarwal & Ors. v. Regional Director (E), Ministry of Corporate Affairs, Kolkata & Ors.

Case Number: W.P.(C) No.9502 of 2022 and batch

Date of decision: 25th July, 2022

In this case, the Petitioners had challenged the issuing of Look Out Circular (LOC) that restricted the overseas travel of the Company Directors and key managerial personnel. The Petitioners vide letter dated 2nd March, 2022 had requested the Opposite Party No.1 (Regional Director (E), Ministry of Corporate Affairs, Kolkata) to allow them to participate in a business of export dealing that was supposed to take place in the USA between 26th - 28th of April, 2022.

The Petitioners had argued that the process of investigation had not yet incriminated the Company for any non-compoundable offence under any provision of law. The Petitioners were cooperating on the issue and in the meantime, almost one and half years had passed. The Petitioners, being unable to participate in the International Trade Fairs to attract their business had suffered huge losses.

On the other hand, the Opposite Party contended that the complaint against the Petitioners was received through one Whistle Blower in the Ministry of Corporate Affairs wherein it was alleged that the Petitioners are the key members of the M/s. Utkal Galvanizers Ltd. and planning to settle down outside India after taking a loan of Rs.600-700 Crores from various Banks. Therefore, they are potential flight risks.

This Court observed that even though there exists allegation as regards the Petitioners fleeing away after taking 600-700 crores from different banks; even after a preliminary counter affidavit and an additional affidavit by the Department, there was no specific allegation on actual loan availed by the Petitioners and their Company and any default therein. The Court remarked that since there was no declaration of NPA involving any account of the Petitioners by any bank, the allegations appeared to be speculative and imaginary and purely, on that basis, liberty cannot be taken away from the Petitioners. Accordingly, the writ petition was allowed.