January 31, 2023

New Delhi, Oct 20 (IANS) The Delhi High Court has observed that Lookout Circular (LOC) is a coercive measure and is to be issued to ensure surrender of a person evading summons or arrest.

“An LOC is a coercive measure to ensure that a person surrenders and interferes with petitioner’s right of personal liberty and free movement. LOC is to be issued in cases where the accused is deliberately evading summons/arrest or where accused fails to appear in the court despite issuance of Non-Bailable Warrants,” Justice Anoop Kumar Mendiratta noted in a recent order while quashing an LOC against a petitioner.

In an earlier order on July 11, 2010, also, the Delhi high court had held that the LOC could be issued only against an accused who is deliberately evading his arrest or is not appearing before the Trial Court despite NBWs issued against him in cognizable offences under IPC or other penal laws.

Justice Mendiratta was dealing with a plea against the LOC issued to one Mohd Kashif in connection with a Customs case.

The petitioner urged that the LOC appears to have been wrongly opened since the investigation is already over and he is no more required for the purpose of any probe.

Kashif’s counsel pointed out that the petitioner was required to return to Dubai, failing which he will lose his job and his NRI VISA is liable to be cancelled.

Additional Commissioner of Customs submitted that the case of smuggling of 7.790 kgs Gold through baggage was booked at the IGI Airport by the Customs Department. During the investigation, it appeared that the petitioner had smuggled 6 kg gold in the past, aided and assisted by two passengers, namely Syed Salman and Shazeb.

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The petitioner did not join the investigation in spite of repeated summons issued against him, it was submitted.

Later LOC was issued against the petitioner by the competent authority after due diligence and consideration.

However, it was further submitted that the LOC issued against the petitioner was reviewed by the competent authority and recommended for withdrawal to the issuing authority, i.e., Deputy Director (Bureau of Immigration) last month.

After the submissions of the parties, the court said: “In the facts and circumstances, the LOC issued against the petitioner is hereby quashed and the order dated 17.08.2022 passed by learned CMM is set aside,” while allowing the petitioner to leave for abroad (Dubai).