The Delhi High Court has permitted a 54-year-old Taiwanese woman accused of possessing Rs 65 lakh foreign currency to travel to Taiwan for six months on the condition that she deposit Rs 15 lakh as security with the Registrar General of the High Court.
The Directorate of Revenue Intelligence argued against the application filed by the foreign national and submitted that “Right to Travel” is not an inbuilt fundamental right under Article 21 of the Constitution of India. Further, it was submitted that she had committed an offence punishable under Section 135 of the Customs Act 1962. It was also submitted that in the event petitioner is allowed to travel abroad, then she may be directed to deposit at least 50% of the foreign currency in the form of cash or in the form of an FDR with this Court.
A single-judge bench of Justice Rajnish Bhatnagar noted that it appears DRI is not averse to the foreign travel of the petitioner if the petitioner is directed to deposit 50% of the amount recovered from her in the form of Indian currency.
“In the instant case, according to the respondent, amount of USD 90,000 was recovered from the petitioner which was around Rs 65,00,000 in Indian currency. The petitioner in the instant case is a lady, aged about 54 years, and there is nothing on record to show that she has previously involved in these types of activities. The condition to deposit 50% of the recovered amount to my opinion would be quite onerous,” said Justice Bhatnagar.
The Counsel for the petitioner submitted she was a mere carrier and tried to smuggle foreign currency inadvertently. She has remained in India for about one year and six months. And the sister of the petitioner has met with an accident and is in serious condition in the hospital.
The Court taking into account the age and no previous criminal record of the petitioner has observed that justice would be met if the petitioner, in the facts and circumstances of the case, is allowed to travel to her country, based on some conditions mentioned below-
1. Petitioner, at the time of depositing FDR, shall also furnish an undertaking to report back in the Court on December 8, 2021, failing which the amount of FDR shall stand forfeited without giving any further notice;
2. Petitioner shall furnish her address during her stay aboard;
3. Petitioner shall not seek extension of her stay abroad on any ground including medical grounds;
4. Petitioner shall authorize her counsel to receive notice on her behalf during her stay abroad;
5. During the stay of the petitioner abroad, no adjournment shall be sought by her counsel for lack of instructions from her account;
6. Petitioner shall surrender her passport on her return from abroad;
7. Petitioner shall not directly or indirectly make any inducement, threat or promise to any person acquainted with the facts of the case so as to dissuade her from disclosing such facts to the Court or to any custom authorities or tamper with the evidence;
8. Petitioner shall not indulge or commit such like offence(s) again – similar to the offence to which she is accused now.
The present petition was filed by the petitioner under Section 397 read with Section 482 Cr.P.C. seeking setting aside of the order dated 10.2.2021 passed by Ld. Principal District and Sessions Judge, New Delhi in Criminal Revision Petition 09/2021.
In the present case, the petitioner is alleged to have been carrying a huge quantity of foreign currency on their person or in-hand baggage or in their checked-in-baggage, and would attempt to smuggle out the same.