Kolkata: Calcutta High Court’s single judge bench of Justice Sabyasachi Bhattacharyya on Saturday ruled that the mere existence of a criminal suit against anyone cannot be the sole reason for denying the issuance of a passport to the person.
Justice Bhattacharyya made this observation while hearing a petition of a woman who was denied issuance of a passport on grounds that there was a pending criminal suit against her.
Justice Bhattacharyya also observed that such denials are against the provision of Article 14 and Article 19 of the Indian constitution.
He also directed the issuance authorities to provide the “no- objection certificate” for the woman concerned to his court within the next seven days the issuance authorities have also been asked to issue the passport to the litigant within the next one month.
It is learnt that the litigant, Deborima Bandopadhyay, a resident of Arambagh in Hooghly district of West Bengal got involved in a criminal suit following the suicide a youth Pabitra Sarkar in her locality.
Her name was tagged in a criminal suit based on the contents of a suicide note written by Sarkar. On the basis of that criminal suit she was denied a passport.
Welcoming the observation by Justice Bhattacharya, senior counsel of Calcutta High Court Kaushik Gupta said that “Right to Travel” is a fundamental right which cannot be denied merely because of the existence of a criminal suit.
“So neither the passport issuance can be denied nor an existing passport be impounded unless there are reasonable or justified grounds for so. The mere existence of a criminal case does not fall under that category of reasonable or justified ground. So I wholeheartedly welcome the move,” said Gupta.