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Police can Only Seize Passport, not Impound it: J&K High Court

Only the passport authority can impound a passport under Section 10(3) of the Passport Act.
Jammu high court

The police can only seize a passport under Section 102 of the CrPC, not impound or retain it. Only the passport authority can impound a passport under Section 10(3) of the Passports Act, the High Court of Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) and Ladakh (HC) recently observed in Madhu Bakshi V/S Anti Corruption Bureau Kashmir.

Justice Sanjay Dhar observed that only the passport authority can impound or retain passports as laid down by the Supreme Court in Suresh Nanda vs. Central Bureau of Investigation, Bar and Bench reported.

If the police seize a passport, which it has power to do under Section 102 of CrPC, the same must be sent to the passport authority clearly stating that the seized passport deserves to be impounded for one of the reasons mentioned in Section 10(3) of the Passports Act, whereafter the passport authority would decide whether or not to impound the passport,” Justice Dhar observed.

The HC was hearing the alleged misappropriation of Rs 35 crore out of a loan amount of Rs100 crore disbursed to M/S APHL, according to LiveLaw.

One Raj Singh Gehlot and Aman Gehlot, co-accused in the alleged misappropriation of Rs 35 crore, had petitioned the court after the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) raided Singh’s house, seized their passports and handed them over to the CBI. When they petitioned the additional Special Judge, anti-corruption, in Srinagar, their pleas were dismissed.

Subsequently, the duo appealed to the HC, which noted that the investigating agency didn’t hand over the passports to the passport authority.

The HC was also told that the CBI would abide by its order and would not object to the petitions by the accused. Accordingly, the Court allowed the petitions and directed release of their passports.

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