Through this revision petition filed under Section 397 read with Section 482 CrPC, the Petitioner challenged the Order dated 10.2.2021 passed by Ld. Principal District and Sessions Judge, New Delhi.
Facts of the case
It was alleged that the Respondent Officer intercepted five Taiwanese passengers namely- Chen Po Shuo, Wang Wei Ting, Liao Kuan Hua, Ms. Chen Hsui Yun (hereinafter Petitioner), and Ms. Chan Kai Li based on information received by the authorities regarding five passengers who would be smuggling huge amount of foreign currency out of the country. On carrying out a thorough search, USD amounting to Rs.3,25,51,040 Indian Rupees was discovered.
The Petitioner was enlarged on bail on 25.10.2019 on the condition that Petitioner would not travel abroad without the Court’s permission. On 10.12.2019, the Petitioner’s application to seek release of her passport was dismissed. However, another application seeking the same relief was allowed on 8.6.2020. After a series of applications and challenges filed by both sides, the Sessions Court set aside the Order dated 21.8.2020 which allowed the release of her passport on the condition that she would have to furnish an FDR.
It was further averred that the Petitioner, thereafter, filed an application seeking permission to go abroad to her native country for six months. On 18.12.2020, the Petitioner was allowed to visit abroad for six months on certain conditions, however, this Order was also challenged before the District and Sessions Judge, and on 10.2.2021, the impugned Order of the Sessions Court was set aside.
Submission on behalf of the Petitioner
It was submitted that the Petitioner was a mere carrier and tried to smuggle foreign currency unintentionally. The Petitioner had been facing multiple issues while residing in Delhi and also happened to be the only caretaker of her family. It was submitted that based on considering the medical report and photographs which were filed by the Petitioner along with the application, the Court granted permission to the Petitioner to go abroad.
So, the Counsel for the Petitioner had urged to allow the Petitioner to visit her home for some period and subject to conditions, along with the reassurance that the Petitioner would not misuse the liberty to go to her country, if granted by this Court, and would appear in Court to face the trial. The Counsel for the Petitioner stated that the Respondent was not averse to the Petitioner going abroad but subject to deposit 50% of the amount of recovered currency. It was reiterated that the Petitioner was not a habitual offender.
Submission on behalf of Respondent
The Counsel for the Respondent submitted that the impugned Order was legally sound. Imposition of penalty on the five accused including the Petitioner, for the offence under Section 135 of the Customs Act 1962, had also been proposed in a matter which was yet to be concluded.
It was submitted that in any event, if the order of learned CMM was upheld and the Petitioner was allowed to travel abroad, the Petitioner might be directed to deposit in cash or FDR for an amount of at least 50% of the foreign currency in INR recovered from the Petitioner.
It was denied that the Right to Travel was an inbuilt Fundamental Right under Article 21 of the Constitution of India. It was further submitted in the reply that the Petitioner was a foreign national and was a part of the conspiracy and if she was allowed to go abroad, there were no chances of her returning and facing trial.
The Petitioner, given the facts and circumstances discussed hereinabove, was allowed to travel abroad to her country, i.e. Taiwan, for six months on deposit of an amount of Rs.15,00,000/- lakhs in the form of an FDR in the name of the Registrar General of this Court subject to conditions.
It had been bought to the Court’s notice that the sister of the Petitioner had met with an accident and the learned Metropolitan Magistrate granted permission to go aboard based on those documents. There was also no serious challenge to the medical grounds made by the Petitioner in the application which was filed before the Chief Metropolitan Magistrate, based on which Petitioner was allowed to travel abroad.
In the reply filed by the Respondent, it appeared that the Respondent was not averse to the foreign travel of the Petitioner if the Petitioner was directed to deposit 50% of the amount recovered from her in the form of Indian currency. In the instant case, according to the Respondent, an amount of USD 90000 was recovered from the Petitioner which was around Rs.65,00,000/- in Indian currency.
The Petitioner in the instant case was a lady, aged about 54 years, and there was nothing on record to show that she had previously been involved in these types of activities. The condition to deposit 50% of the recovered amount in the opinion of the Court was quite onerous.
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