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Case Law Details

Case Name : Mannoj Kumar Jain & Anr Vs Union of India & Ors (Calcutta High Court)
Appeal Number : WPA 22748 of 2022
Date of Judgement/Order : 09/06/2023
Related Assessment Year :
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Mannoj Kumar Jain & Anr Vs Union of India & Ors (Calcutta High Court)

Calcutta High Court held that Look Out Circular has dangerous repercussions on the person’s right to freely move across and beyond the country and remain mobile. Hence, Look Out Circular cannot be made the norm for recovery of outstanding payments to the Bank.

Facts- The petitioners initially filed the writ petition against the action taken by the Immigration Authority preventing the petitioners from travelling to the United Kingdom. An order was passed on 30.9.2022 directing the petitioners to add Indian Overseas Bank as a party respondent as the Court was informed that the petitioners had been prevented from travelling to the United Kingdom by reason of a Look Out Circular on the basis of a request made by the Indian Overseas Bank. The Indian Overseas Bank was thereafter, added as the respondent no. 8. The Vacation Bench passed an order on 18.10.2022 permitting the second Petitioner to travel to the U.K. on account of the 2nd petitioner’s son pursuing his studies there. The petitioners filed an application for amendment of the writ petition for challenging the Look Out Circular issued by the Indian Overseas Bank and sought for quashing of the same. By an order dated 28.02.2023, the petitioners were permitted to challenge the Look Out Circular issued at the instance of the Indian Overseas Bank / respondent no. 8. Affidavits are complete in the amendment application.

The issue for adjudication is whether the Look Out Circular can continue to prevent the petitioners from travelling outside India or should be quashed on the facts which have been brought to the notice of the Court.

Conclusion- Once a Look Out Circular is issued, it remains alive and kicking for almost all times to come. This spells dangerous repercussions on the person’s right to freely move across and beyond the country and remain mobile. The Banks have been given untrammeled powers to issue, use and exploit the lock-in power of a Look Out Circular without sufficient recourse being provided in law to the person at the receiving end of it. The expressions “… detrimental… to the economic interest of India” in the concerned OM is sufficient to sharpen the talons of a vindictive Bank to clip the wings of a vulnerable prey (in the metaphoric sense). The Writ Court hence can and should step in to check such unregulated abuse of power by Banks where the facts demand relief.

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