Petitioner is Allowed to Travel Abroad on Deposit of 50% Amount Recovered from Smuggling

-Report by Muskan Chanda

Facts

  • It is purported based on some information that, 5 passengers namely Wang Wei Ting, Chen Po Shuo, Ms. Chen Hsui Yun, Liao Kuan Hua, and Ms. Chan Kai Li, holders of Republic of China (Taiwan) would be departing from IGI Airport, by Air India Flight No. AI 310 to Hong Kong with its Scheduled departure. It is averred that as per the information obtained, the mentioned passengers would be having a huge quantity of foreign currency on their persons or in hand baggage, and attempt to smuggle out the same.
  • It is alleged that the respondent officers reached the Airport and intercepted the said 5 passengers at Boarding Gate. It is alleged that their baggage was searched and a total amount of USD 4,49,600 was recovered. The said amount was seized. It is averred that the petitioner was enlarged on bail imposing the condition that the petitioner could not travel abroad without the court’s permission.
  • It is further alleged that the petitioner filed an application seeking permission to go to her native country for 6 months as the petitioner is a foreign resident, and is facing financial crises, and has no accommodation in India. Given the facts and circumstances of the case, the court allowed the petitioner to visit abroad for 6 months on some conditions. The said order was challenged by the Department-respondent before the District Judge, Delhi.
  • The respondent-Department has filed a reply. It is alleged that there is no infirmity or illegality in the impugned order. The petitioner is a foreigner so she has no interest in India and in case the petitioner is allowed to go abroad she would not return to India to face trial. It is further submitted that if the order of learned CMM is upheld and the petitioner is allowed to travel abroad, the petitioner shall be directed to deposit in FDR or cash for an amount of at least 50% of the foreign currency recovered from the petitioner. It is further submitted that the applicant has committed an offence punishable under section 135 of the Customs Act 1962. It is denied that the right to travel is a fundamental right under Article 21 of the Constitution of India. It is further contended that the petitioner is a foreign national and is a part of the conspiracy and if she is allowed to go abroad, there is no chance of her returning and facing trial.

Petitioner’s Contention

The learned counsel for the petitioner contended that the petitioner is a carrier and she tried to smuggle foreign. He further submitted that the petitioner has remained in India for about 18 months and the petitioner, being a woman aged about 54 years, is suffering from extreme hardship in living in Delhi. It is further submitted that the petitioner’s spouse, aged about 64 years, is suffering from various old aged ailments and requires a regular medical check-up and care and there is no one to take care of her family. He submitted that the sibling of the petitioner has met with an accident and is admitted to the hospital. It is further submitted that learned CMM, based on the medical report and photographs which were filed by the petitioner along with the application, Petitioner should be granted permission to visit her country and she would not misuse the freedom to go to her country. If permission is granted by this Court, she would appear in Court to face the trial. It is further submitted by the counsel for the petitioner that the respondent is not averse to the petitioner going abroad but subject to deposit 50% of the amount of recovered foreign currency from the petitioner, which is onerous. It is submitted that there is no allegation that the petitioner is a habitual offender.

Respondent’s Contention

The learned counsel for the respondent contended that the petitioner is allowed to travel to her country, but the petitioner shall be directed to deposit at least 50% of the foreign currency in the form of cash or the form of an FDR with this Court of the amount recovered.

Judgment

Petitioner, given the facts discussed above, is allowed to travel to her country, i.e. Taiwan, for 6 months on deposit of the amount of Rs.15,00,000/- lakhs in the form of an FDR in the name of Registrar General of this Court, and also subject to the following conditions:

  • The petitioner must also furnish an undertaking to report back in the Court on 08.12.2021, at the time of depositing FDR, failing which the amount of FDR shall stand forfeited without giving any further notice;
  • The petitioner must furnish her address during her stay aboard;
  • Petitioner should not seek an extension of her stay abroad on any ground including medical grounds;
  • The petitioner must authorize her counsel to receive notice on her behalf during her stay abroad;
  • During the stay of the petitioner abroad, no adjournment will be sought by her counsel for lack of instructions from her account;
  • The petitioner must surrender back her passport on her return from abroad;
  • Petitioner should not directly or indirectly make any inducement, threat or promise to any person acquainted with the facts of the case to dissuade her from disclosing such facts to the Court or any custom authorities or tamper with the evidence;
  • Petitioner should not indulge or commit such like offence(s) again – similar to the offence to which she is accused now.

The revision petition stands disposed of in the aforesaid terms.

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