Mere chargesheet or FIR not ground for impounding passport, says Bombay HC

The Bombay High Court recently held that “mere registration of an FIR or filing of chargesheet is not a ground for impounding the passport”.

In doing so, the bench allowed a plea by a 52-year-old businessman from Thane who sought setting aside of a November 2019 order by the Chief Passport Officer (CPO) confirming an action of a subordinate officer of impounding the passport. The court remitted the matter back to the appellate authority of Joint Secretary (PSP) and CPO to consider the petitioner’s appeal afresh.

A division bench of Justice Revati Mohite-Dere and Justice Madhav J Jamdar earlier this month was hearing a plea by Sanjeeb Ranjit Das who claimed that an order passed by CPO confirming action of impounding passport as per the Passport Act, 1967 was without any reasons.

Advocate Aseem Naphade for Das submitted that the CPO’s opinion that registration of FIR leads to impounding of passport is legally unsustainable and without application of mind.

Advocate D P Singh for respondent passport officials stated that the matter is remitted back to appellate authority of Joint Secretary (PSP) and CPO,PSP Division, New Delhi, and it will reconsider the petitioner’s appeal on merits, in accordance with law.

“…we deem it appropriate to quash and set aside the impugned order dated November 15, 2019, and remit the matter back to said authority to consider the petitioner’s appeal afresh,” it noted and disposed of the plea.

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